Have You Ever Seen the Rain? It Looks Like It's Going to Rain!

The Causal Impact of the Weather Situation and the Season on Survey Participation in a Multi-Wave Panel Study

  • Rolf Becker University of Bern
Keywords: Weather situation, season, online survey, panel study, event history analysis, survey participation


This empirical study examines, whether the weather situations during the different seasons in which panel surveys are carried out have an impact on the timing and extent of survey participation. Based on considerations regarding the panellists’ habits and their assessment of a participation's benefits and costs compared to alternative action, it is assumed that ‘pleasant’ weather diverts them from immediately completing the questionnaire while ‘unpleasant’ weather results in a higher degree of participation right after survey launch. The results of event history analysis based on longitudinal data from a multi-wave panel confirm these assumptions. Additionally, there seems to be an interaction between the season and the weather situation: ‘Pleasant’ weather in spring results in a lower participation rate compared to surveys in summer while, given the same weather situation, the participation rate is higher in autumn. Finally, it is evident that regardless of the season, heavy rainfall at the beginning of the field period is most beneficial for conducting an online survey in terms of both rapid response and high participation rates.
How to Cite
Becker, R. (2021). Have You Ever Seen the Rain? It Looks Like It’s Going to Rain!. Survey Research Methods, 15(1), 27-41. https://doi.org/10.18148/srm/2021.v15i1.7782