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Searching for More Effective Variables to Use in a

Lauren Vermeer, David Swanson, and Sharon Krieger


Like most household surveys, the Consumer Expenditure Survey’s response rate is decreasing. Also like most household surveys, it has a risk of bias, including nonresponse bias. The Consumer Expenditure Survey uses a nonresponse adjustment procedure to remove the bias generated by nonresponding households from its data. However, as the survey’s response rate decreases, any imperfection in the nonresponse adjustment procedure increases, highlighting the importance of keeping the procedure current and accurate. The Consumer Expenditure Survey uses the traditional cell adjustment method for its nonresponse adjustments, which relies on having a set of cell-defining variables. In this paper we describe a technique we recently employed to systematically search for a more effective set of cell-defining variables.