Survey Methodology
Reducing the response imbalance: Is the accuracy of the survey estimates improved?

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.

by Carl-Erik Särndal, Kaur Lumiste and Imbi TraatNote 1

  • Release date: December 20, 2016


We present theoretical evidence that efforts during data collection to balance the survey response with respect to selected auxiliary variables will improve the chances for low nonresponse bias in the estimates that are ultimately produced by calibrated weighting. One of our results shows that the variance of the bias – measured here as the deviation of the calibration estimator from the (unrealized) full-sample unbiased estimator – decreases linearly as a function of the response imbalance that we assume measured and controlled continuously over the data collection period. An attractive prospect is thus a lower risk of bias if one can manage the data collection to get low imbalance. The theoretical results are validated in a simulation study with real data from an Estonian household survey.

Key Words: Survey nonresponse; Bias; Adaptive data collection; Calibration estimator; Auxiliary variables.

Table of content

How to cite

Särndal, C.-E., Lumiste, K. and Traat, I. (2016). Reducing the response imbalance: Is the accuracy of the survey estimates improved? Survey Methodology, Statistics Canada, Catalogue No. 12-001-X, Vol. 42, No. 2. Paper available at


Date modified: