Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Pfeffer says housing bubble masked decade-long growth in household net worth inequality

House, Burgard, Schoeni et al find that unemployment and recession have contrasting effects on mortality risk

Smock says cohabitation does not reduce odds of marriage

Highlights

Jeff Morenoff makes Reuters' Highly Cited Researchers list for 2014

Susan Murphy named Distinguished University Professor

Sarah Burgard and former PSC trainee Jennifer Ailshire win ASA award for paper

James Jackson to be appointed to NSF's National Science Board

Next Brown Bag


PSC Brown Bags will return in the fall

Eleanor Singer photo

Toward a Benefit-Cost Theory of Survey Participation: Evidence, Further Tests, and Implications

Publication Abstract

Singer, Eleanor. 2011. "Toward a Benefit-Cost Theory of Survey Participation: Evidence, Further Tests, and Implications." Journal of Official Statistics, 27(2): 379-392.

This article uses survey respondents' own reasons for participating or not participating in surveys, as well as experiments carried out over many years, to propose a benefit-cost theory of survey participation. The argument is that people choose to act, in surveys as in life, when, in their subjective calculus, the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs. The process of reaching a decision may be carefully reasoned or it may proceed almost instantaneously, with the aid of heuristics. But regardless of the process, the outcome depends on a judgment that the benefits of acting outweigh the costs of doing so - even if, objectively speaking, the actors are badly informed and their decision leads to an undesirable outcome. The article reviews research on confidentiality assurances and risk perceptions with reference to a benefit-cost theory of behavior, and concludes by suggesting research to test the theory's predictions and by drawing testable implications for survey practice.

Country of focus: United States.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next