Balancing the response and adjusting estimates for nonresponse bias: complementary activities

  • Carl-Erik Särndal
  • Peter Lundquist


One objective of Responsive Design is to manage the data collection through appropriate planning and intervention, so as to promote in the end a well-balanced or well representative set of respondents. At that stage, auxiliary information, including paradata, plays a crucial role. But regardless of what can be accomplished during data collection, accurate estimation is the ultimate goal. The auxiliary variables play an important role at that stage as well, as when calibrated weights are used for adjustment in order to reduce the nonresponse bias that nevertheless affects the estimates. The concept of imbalance of the survey response is central in this article. We define and measure its components, total, marginal and conditional imbalance. We propose methods based on response propensity, observed continuously throughout the data collection, for obtaining a well-balanced ultimate response. We apply the methods to data from a major Swedish survey, and we explore how a successful reduction of imbalance may contribute further to reducing the bias of estimates, over and beyond what calibration adjustment will accomplish in that regard.
Numéro spécial : sondages