Attrition in longitudinal studies can introduce nonresponse bias. Using data from a multi-wave school-based study of adolescents, the authors compare substance-use estimates across methods, validate methods to correct for nonresponse by seeing how well they "postdict" known overall sample baseline values, and calculate the relative efficiency of each approach with respect to a known "gold standard." In these data, weighting for non-response worked very well, but sample-selection modeling requires assumptions that are not met in this setting, and severe bias results. The high costs associated with full nonrespondent tracking efforts may be avoidable if weighting works as well as it did here.
Originally published in: Evaluation Review, v. 21. no. 5, October 1997, pp. 554-567.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.