Survey Response and Survey Characteristics: micro-level evidence from the European Community Household Panel

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



Economics and Statistics Discussion Paper


Publication date

January 20, 2004


This paper presents some micro-level evidence on the role of the socio-demographic characteristics of the population and the characteristics of the data collection process as predictors of survey response. Our evidence is based on the public use files of the European Community Household Panel (ECHP), a longitudinal household survey covering the countries of the European Union, whose attractive feature is the high level of comparability cross countries and over time.

We use individual-level information to predict response in the next wave given response in the current wave, focusing on how the probabilities of contact failure and refusal to cooperate vary with the
socio-demographic composition of the national populations and the characteristics of the data collection process. We model the response
process as the outcome of two sequential events: (i) the contact between the interviewer and an eligible interviewee, and (ii) the cooperation of
the interviewee. Our model allows for dependence between the ease of contact and the propensity to cooperate, taking into account the censoring problem caused by the fact that we observe whether a person is a respondent only if she has been contacted.

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