, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 33-55
Date: 28 Nov 2005

Survey nonresponse and the distribution of income

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Abstract

The paper examines the distributional implications of selective compliance in sample surveys, whereby households with different incomes are not equally likely to participate. Poverty and inequality measurement implications are discussed for monotonically decreasing and inverted-U compliance-income relationships. We demonstrate that the latent income effect on the probability of compliance can be estimated from information on response rates across geographic areas. On implementing the method on the Current Population Survey for the U.S. we find that the compliance probability falls monotonically as income rises. Correcting for nonresponse appreciably increases mean income and inequality, but has only a small impact on poverty incidence up to poverty lines common in the U.S.

Martin Ravallion: Corresponding author.