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What They Expect Is What You Get: The Role of Interviewer Expectations in Nonresponse to Income and Asset Questions

Inhalt

Personal income and assets are sensitive topics to discuss. This phenomenon is reflected in high rates of nonresponse to financial questions in surveys. In face-to-face surveys, item nonresponse is influenced by interviewers. Although interviewers are trained to conduct standardized interviews, some obtain a higher number of item nonresponses than others. This study examines interviewer effects on nonresponse to questions about household income, bank balances, and interest and dividend income in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). It first investigates the extent to which interviewers affect nonresponse to income and asset questions and second whether interviewers’ prior expectations regarding respondents’ likelihood to provide information about their income predict actual nonresponse rates. Results of multilevel modeling show that interviewer influence on nonresponse to the income and asset questions was significant at the five percent level. In addition, interviewer expectations were significantly correlated with “don’t know” responses and “refusals.” These results indicate that interviewer expectations matter in the context of income and asset questions and that survey practitioners should take this into account when designing interviewer training.

Publikationsdetails
csm_Friedel-2_8f0c6e0946

Sabine Friedel

2019
Oxford University Press
Oxford
(online first)
Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology
https://doi.org/10.1093/jssam/smz022