Trust and Credibility in the U.S. Federal Statistical System

Jennifer Hunter Childs, Aleia Clark Fobia, Ryan King, and Gerson Morales
U.S. Census Bureau


The U.S. Federal Statistical System (FSS) is searching for ways to ensure high quality data in surveys, given declines in response rates and the associated increase in operational costs. They are searching for ways to address problems with public trust in the government, if these issues could hinder their efforts. To address these concerns, the Census Bureau partnered with other federal statistical agencies to collect data to assess attitudes, beliefs, and concerns the public may have regarding federal statistics and the agencies that collect them. This public opinion data enables the FSS to better understand public perceptions, and provides guidance …


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International Nonresponse Trends across Countries and Years: An analysis of 36 years of Labour Force Survey data

Edith de Leeuw, Department of Methodology & Statistics, Utrecht University
Joop Hox, Department of Methodology & Statistics, Utrecht University
Annemieke Luiten, Statistics Netherlands


Household survey nonresponse is a matter of concern in many countries. In one of the first international trend analyses, de Leeuw and de Heer (2002) found that response rates declined over the years, and that countries differed in response rates and nonresponse trends. Their analyses cover longitudinal data on the Labour Force Survey from National Statistical Institutes for the period 1980 to 1997. We added a new data set, covering the period 1998 -2015, and analysed nonresponse data over time and countries. In these analyses we differentiated between voluntary and mandatory surveys. The trends visible in de Leeuw and de …


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Validating occupational coding indexes for use in multi-country surveys

Kea G. Tijdens, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Casper S. Kaandorp, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands


Occupational coding in multi-country surveys is mostly a black box: have national survey agencies classified the same occupational titles into the same category across countries? This paper attempts to validate the coding from 5-digit occupational titles into the 4-digit occupational units of the international ISCO-08 classification, based on a comparison of coding indexes from national statistical offices. Two research objectives are central. To what extent are occupational titles in the coding indexes similar, when comparing their English translations? What percentage of similar occupational titles is coded similarly across countries? To answer these questions, we merged titles from 20 coding indexes …


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Investigating Respondent Multitasking and Distraction Using Self-reports and Interviewers’ Observations in a Dual-frame Telephone Survey

Eva Aizpurua, Center for Social and Behavioral Research, University of Northern Iowa & School of Law, Trinity College Dublin
Erin O. Heiden, Center for Social and Behavioral Research, University of Northern Iowa
Ki H. Park, Center for Social and Behavioral Research, University of Northern Iowa
Jill Wittrock, Center for Social and Behavioral Research, University of Northern Iowa
Mary E. Losch, Center for Social and Behavioral Research, University of Northern Iowa


Previous research has shown that people often engage in other activities while responding to surveys and that respondents’ multitasking generally has no effect on indicators of data quality (e.g., item non-response, non-differentiation). One of the limitations of these studies is that they have mostly used self-reported measures of respondents’ multitasking. We build on prior research by combining self-reported measures of multitasking with interviewers' observations of respondents' distractions recorded after each interview. The dataset comes from a statewide dual-frame random digit dial telephone survey of adults in a Midwestern state (n = 1,006) who were queried on topics related to awareness …


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Evaluation of Gaining Cooperation Methods for IVR Surveys in Low- and Middle-income Countries

Ashley Amaya, RTI International
Charles Lau, RTI International
Yaa Owusu-Amoah, VOTO Mobile
Jocelyn Light, VOTO Mobile


Interactive voice response (IVR) is gaining popularity as a data collection method for survey research. In low- and middle-income countries, IVR is used as a primary data collection mode. The system places an out-bound dial; when the individual answers, he/she hears a recorded greeting and invitation to begin the survey. This approach has the benefit of reducing labor costs, but without an interviewer, there is no one to help gain cooperation, answer questions, or identify the appropriate language in which to continue, resulting in low production outcome rates (e.g., cooperation rate, response rate). In this paper, we use experiments embedded …


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