During the past decade, nonresponse error—which occurs when those units that are sampled but from which data are not gathered differ to a nonignorable extent from those sampled units that do provide data—has become an extremely important topic to survey researchers. The increasing attention given to this part of the total survey error is related to the observation that survey participation is decreasing in all Western societies. Thus, more efforts (and cost expenditures) are needed to obtain acceptably high response rates.

In general, the response rate can be defined as the proportion of eligible sample units for which an interview (or other form of data collection) was completed. The calculation of the standard response rate is straightforward: the number of achieved interviews divided by the number ...

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