Coping with decreasing response rates in Statistics Norway : recommended practice for reducing the effect of nonresponse
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Over the last two decades, cooperation rates in most sample surveys appear to have declined in many countries, including Norway. As a consequence, the cost of conducting surveys has increased because repeated attempts must be made in order to seek information from reluctant sample members. In this report, we provide a review of experiences in Statistics Norway in the field of survey nonresponse. The report presents a recommended practice manual, RPM, based on these experiences. As nonresponse is part of quality, we treat the response process as part of the production process in a systematic quality approach, and recommend methods and techniques applied to reduce unit nonresponse and its effects on the final official statistics. The report is divided into five chapters: Chapter 1 provides an introduction of some basic concepts within the systematic quality approach and some recommendations. Chapter 2 presents some response rates and nonresponse biases and their development over time and some international comparisons. Chapter 3 is concerned with household surveys. Key factors that have important impact on nonresponse are identified. For many of these factors, key process variables are measured and applied to find a good balance between cost and quality. Chapter 4 gives a similar presentation concerning business surveys. Chapter 5 presents techniques used to investigate the nature of the effects on nonresponse on the population estimates together with the most commonly used weighting methods.