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Understanding Society Working Paper Series 2013-05

Propensity to consent to data linkage: experimental evidence from the Innovation Panel on the role of three survey design features

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Publication date

29 Aug 2013

Abstract

When performing data linkage, survey respondents need to provide their informed consent. Since not all respondents agree to this request, the linked dataset will have fewer observations than the survey dataset alone and bias may be introduced. By focusing on the role that survey design features play in gaining respondents’ consent, this paper provides an innovative contribution to the studies in this field. Analysing experimental data collected in a nationally representative household panel survey of the British population, we find that interview features such as question format (dependent/independent questions) and placement of the consent question within the questionnaire have an impact on consent rates.

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