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Grant Miller: Managerial Incentives in Public Service Delivery

Changes in Telephone Survey Nonresponse Over the Past Quarter Century

Publication Abstract

Curtin, R., S. Presser, and Eleanor Singer. 2005. "Changes in Telephone Survey Nonresponse Over the Past Quarter Century." Public Opinion Quarterly, 69:87-98.

We correct, update, and elaborate Curtin, Presser, and Singer's (2000) report that the University of Michigan's Survey of Consumer Attitudes (SCA) experienced only a small response rate decline between 1979 and 1996, contrary to the widespread perception of plunging response rates. Our aims are to (1) correct errors in the SCA response rate data that affected Curtin, Presser, and Singer's (2000) result, (2) examine the trend in SCA response rates after 1996, when caller identification technology became widespread, and (3) describe the roles played by the various sources of SCA nonresponse over time. The results show that the response rate decline from 1979 to 1996 was larger than described by Curtin, Presser, and Singer (2000); the response rate drop was significantly steeper from 1996 to 2003 than from 1979 to 1996; and the 1979 to 2003 trends differed substantially for refusals and noncontacts.

DOI:10.1093/poq/nfi002 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States.

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