Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.4, No.2, 1988. pp. 155172

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Miscellanea, Self/Proxy Response Status and Survey Response Quality, A Review of the Literature

Three decades of research have not produced conclusive evidence of consistent response bias or response error variance differences due to self/proxy response status. The net nonresponse effect may also be close to zero due to compensating effects for the various components of nonresponse. The main cause of the lack of evidence is the methodological shortcomings of much of the research which purports to address the self/proxy issue. In addition, the few methodologically sound studies – most importantly, those which control potential self-selection biases, and whose subject matter makes the self/proxy distinction appropriate – in general have produced no effects or conflicting effects (or, in the case of nonresponse, compensating effects). However, lack of convincing evidence of quality differences is not synonymous with convincing evidence of no quality differences. Until more data are gathered, the conclusion that self and proxy survey responses are of equivalent quality must remain tentative.

Self/proxy response; response quality; response bias; response error variance; nonresponse; survey design.

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