Survey Non-response and Unemployment Duration
Berg, G.J. van den
Dolton, Peter J.
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Social surveys are often used to estimate unemployment duration distributions. Survey non-response may then cause a bias. We study this using a unique dataset thatcombines survey information of individual workers with administrative records ofthe same workers. The latter provide information on unemployment durations andpersonal characteristics of all survey respondents and non-respondents. We developa method to empirically distinguish between two explanations for a bias in resultsbased on only survey data: (1) selectivity due to related unobserved determinantsof unemployment durations and non-response, and (2) a causal effect of a job exiton non-response. The latter may occur even in fully homogeneous populations. Themethodology exploits variation in the timing of the duration outcome relative tothe survey moment. The results show evidence for both explanations. We discussimplications for standard methods to deal with non-response bias.