Surveys from inside: An assessment of unit nonresponse bias with internal criteria

Ulrich Kohler


The article uses the so called “internal criteria of representativeness” to assess the unit nonresponse
bias in five European comparative survey projects. It then goes on investigating several
ideas why unit nonresponse bias might vary between surveys and countries. It is proposed that
unit nonresponse bias is either caused by country characteristics or survey methodology. The
empirical evidence presented speaks more in favour of the latter than of the former. Among
the survey characteristics the features that strengthen the leverage to control interviewers’ behaviour
have top priority


Unit nonresponse bias; survey quality; sampling; reachability; response rate

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