Cutting the Costs of Attrition: Results from the Indonesia Family Life Survey

Elizabeth Frankenberg, Duke University
Bondan Sikoki, SurveyMETER
John Strauss, University of Southern California
Cecep S. Sumantri, SurveyMETER
Wayan Suriastini, SurveyMETER
Firman Witoelar, World Bank Group
Duncan Thomas, Duke University

Attrition is the Achilles heel of longitudinal surveys. Drawing on our experience in the Indonesia Family Life Survey, we describe survey design and field strategies that contributed to minimizing attrition over four waves of the survey. The data are used to illustrate the selectivity of respondents who attrit and the selectivity of respondents who move from the place they were interviewed at baseline and are subsequently interviewed elsewhere. Attrition, and types of attrition, are related in complex ways to a broad array of baseline characteristics. Our evidence suggests attrition may be related to characteristics that are not observed at baseline. We draw on data from a Survey of Surveyors and describe characteristics of both the interviewers and the interview that predict attrition in later waves. These characteristics point to possible strategies that may reduce attrition and may also serve to ameliorate the impact of attrition in behavioral models.

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Presented in Poster Session 5