Data from three waves of the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS) are used to examine attrition in the context of a large scale panel survey conducted in a low income setting. Household-level attrition between the baseline and first follow-up four years later is 6%; the cumulative attrition between the baseline and second follow-up after a five year hiatus is 5%. Attrition is low in the IFLS because movers are followed: around 12% of households that were interviewed had moved from their location at baseline. About half of those households were "local movers". The other half, many of whom had moved to a new province, were interviewed during a second sweep through the study areas ("2nd stage tracking"). Regression analyses indicate that in terms of household-level characteristics at baseline, households interviewed during "2nd stage tracking" are very similar to those not interviewed in the follow-up surveys. Local movers are more similar to the households found in the baseline location in the follow-ups. The results suggest that the information content of households interviewed during "2nd tracking" is probably high. The costs of following those respondents is relatively modest in the IFLS. The authors conclude that tracking movers is likely to be a good investment in longitudinal households surveys conducted in settings where communication infrastructure is limited.
Originally published in: Journal of Human Resources, v. 36, no. 3, 2001, pp. 557-592.
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/research-integrity.
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.