Survey Methodology
Replication variance estimation after sample-based calibration

by Jean D. Opsomer and Andreea L. ErciulescuNote 1

  • Release date: January 6, 2022


Sample-based calibration occurs when the weights of a survey are calibrated to control totals that are random, instead of representing fixed population-level totals. Control totals may be estimated from different phases of the same survey or from another survey. Under sample-based calibration, valid variance estimation requires that the error contribution due to estimating the control totals be accounted for. We propose a new variance estimation method that directly uses the replicate weights from two surveys, one survey being used to provide control totals for calibration of the other survey weights. No restrictions are set on the nature of the two replication methods and no variance-covariance estimates need to be computed, making the proposed method straightforward to implement in practice. A general description of the method for surveys with two arbitrary replication methods with different numbers of replicates is provided. It is shown that the resulting variance estimator is consistent for the asymptotic variance of the calibrated estimator, when calibration is done using regression estimation or raking. The method is illustrated in a real-world application, in which the demographic composition of two surveys needs to be harmonized to improve the comparability of the survey estimates.

Key Words:   Fishing; Hunting and wildlife watching surveys; Raking; Regression estimation; Replicate construction.

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How to cite

Opsomer, J.D., and Erciulescu, A.L. (2021). Replication variance estimation after sample-based calibration. Survey Methodology, Statistics Canada, Catalogue No. 12-001-X, Vol. 47, No. 2. Paper available at


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