Some Indicators of Sample Representativeness and Attrition Bias for BHPS and Understanding Society

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Understanding Society Working Paper Series


Peter Lynn and Magda Borkowska

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The representativeness of the Understanding Society sample is assessed by means of both external and internal comparisons. External comparisons involve comparing the initially interviewed sample with the most chronologically proximate Population Censuses. Internal comparisons involve assessing attrition over time from the initial sample. Analysis is restricted to the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) sample, designed to represent Great Britain in 1991, and the Understanding Society General Population Sample (GPS), designed to represent the United Kingdom in 2009-10. Attrition is assessed over 24 years for the former, and 6 years for the latter. Results are mainly reassuring, though some differential attrition is detected.

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