Difficulty to Reach Respondents and Nonresponse Bias: Evidence from Large Government Surveys

41 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2016  

Ori Heffetz

Cornell University - S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management; Hebrew University of Jerusalem; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Daniel B. Reeves

Cornell University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2016

Abstract

How high is unemployment? How low is labor force participation? Is obesity more prevalent among men? How large are household expenditures? We study the sources of the relevant official statistics—the Current Population Survey (CPS), the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX)—and find that the answers depend on whether we look at easy- or at difficult-to-reach respondents, measured by the number of call and visit attempts made by interviewers. A challenge to the (conditionally-)random-nonresponse assumption, these findings empirically substantiate the theoretical warning against making population-wide estimates from surveys with low response rates.

Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.

Suggested Citation

Heffetz, Ori and Reeves, Daniel B., Difficulty to Reach Respondents and Nonresponse Bias: Evidence from Large Government Surveys (June 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22333. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2794779

Ori Heffetz (Contact Author)

Cornell University - S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

324 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, IL 91905
Israel

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~heffetz

Daniel B. Reeves

Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )

474-B Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
11
Abstract Views
159