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Chasing hard to get cases in panel surveys – is it worth it? Nicole Watson, University of Melbourne Mark Wooden, University of Melbourne. Acknowledgements.

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Chasing hard to get cases in panel surveys – is it worth it?Nicole Watson, University of MelbourneMark Wooden, University of Melbourne


This paper uses unit record data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. The HILDA Project was initiated and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and is managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (Melbourne Institute).

The findings and view reported in this paper, however, are those of the authors and should not be attributed to either FaHCSIA or the Melbourne Institute.

research questions
Research Questions
  • Are hard-to-get cases (that are interviewed) noticeably different from other interviewed cases?
  • Do the cases that require a lot of effort in one survey wave require a lot of effort in all waves?
  • Are hard-to-get cases in one wave simply going to attrit at the next wave?
  • Is data quality inversely associated with effort?
data the hilda survey
Data: The HILDA Survey
  • National household panel survey
    • Nationally representative household sample (7682 hhs)
    • Started in 2001; annual interviewing
    • Face-to-face interviews (mostly) w all persons 15+ yrs
    • New household members added each wave
  • Response
    • W1 hh response rate = 66%
    • Re-interview rates: w2 = 87%, rising to 95%+ by w6
  • Sample size (unbalanced panel, 11 waves)*
    • N = 143,812; i =22,019
  • Size of hard to get (H2G) group is definition dependent.
  • H2G are distinct from both easy-to-get cases and non-respondents.
  • Most H2G cases (P=70-73%) will be E2G at next survey wave.
  • H2G more likely to attrit (P=12-17%), but most don’t.
  • There may be some implications for data quality.