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Re‐engaging with survey non‐respondents: evidence from three household panels

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Previous research into the correlates and determinants of non‐response in longitudinal surveys has focused exclusively on why it is that respondents at one survey wave choose not to participate at future waves. This is very understandable if non‐response is always an absorbing state, but in many longitudinal surveys, and certainly most household panels, this is not so. Indeed, in these surveys it is normal practice to attempt to make contact with many non‐respondents at the next wave. This study differs from previous research by examining re‐engagement with previous wave non‐respondents. Drawing on data from three national household panels it is found that the re‐engagement decision is indeed distinctly different from the decision about continued participation. Further, these differences have clear implications for the way that panel surveys should be administered given the desire to enhance overall response rates.

Keywords: British Household Panel Survey; Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey; Interviewer continuity; Non‐monotonic attrition; Socio‐Economic Panel study

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2014

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