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Does Questionnaire Color Affect Survey Response Rates

Polly A. Phipps, Kenneth W. Robertson, and Keith G. Keel


The Occupational Employment Statistics Survey is a Federal-State establishment survey that measures occupational employment by industry for the Nation and States. In 1989 and 1990, pilot surveys were undertaken to assess the feasibility of collecting wage data by occupation within industry. In this paper, we describe an experiment carried out during the 1990 pilot survey to test the effect of colored questionnaires on survey response rates. We use statistical tests to see if a particular color of questionnaire resulted in higher response rate and analyze the data by industry, questionnaire type, and time of mailings.