Change of the Fieldwork Agency in the IAB Household Panel Study PASS

Gerrit Müller


Ongoing longitudinal surveys seldom switch fieldwork agencies between waves. The possible effects of such a change are difficult to estimate in advance and have, until now, rarely been explored. In addition, data privacy statements hamper the switch between fieldwork agencies in practice. As in most other academic surveys in Germany, the households to be surveyed in PASS (Panel Study “Labour Market and Social Security”) were assured in advance in writing that their name and address data would not be passed on to third parties. To comply with this data privacy statement, the PASS survey needed to inform all the participating households of the upcoming change in fieldwork agency and to give them the opportunity to explicitly object to the transfer of their address data. This article reports the effects of this notification, which may be of relevance for other panel studies in future. Moreover, it attempts to quantify the costs relating to a change of fieldwork agency in terms of magnitude and selectivity of the panel attrition arising in particular from the objection to the transfer of address data.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Gerrit Müller

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