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Can Online Surveys Represent the Entire Population?

Elisabeth Grewenig, Philipp Lergetporer, Lisa Simon (), Katharina Werner () and Ludger Woessmann ()
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Philipp Lergetporer: ifo Institute

No 117, Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series from CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition

Abstract: A general concern with the representativeness of online surveys is that they exclude the \"offline\" population that does not use the internet. We run a large-scale opinion survey with (1) onliners in web mode, (2) offliners in face-to-face mode, and (3) onliners in face-to-face mode. We find marked response differences between onliners and offliners in the mixed-mode setting (1 vs. 2). Response differences between onliners and offliners in the same face-to-face mode (2 vs. 3) disappear when controlling for background characteristics, indicating mode effects rather than unobserved population differences. Differences in background characteristics of onliners in the two modes (1 vs. 3) indicate that mode effects partly reflect sampling differences. In our setting, re-weighting online-survey observations appears a pragmatic solution when aiming at representativeness for the entire population.

Keywords: online survey; representativeness; mode effects; offliner; public opinion (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C83 D91 I20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-09-17
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp and nep-hrm
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Working Paper: Can Online Surveys Represent the Entire Population? (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Can Online Surveys Represent the Entire Population? (2018) Downloads
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