How to Reduce Item Nonresponse in Face- to-Face Surveys? A Review and Evidence from the European Social Survey

Malte Grönemann


I review the literature on item nonresponse in surveys. Based on this review, I extend the satisficing model with respondents’ privacy concerns to incorporate all relevant aspects of the response process for item nonresponse. I review proposed strategies to reduce item nonresponse and test selected strategies. Results suggest that boosting respondents’ use of showcards and interviewing in the respondents’ primary language might be promising ways to reduce item nonresponse. Other people present during the interview have only a small association with the number of refusals. Matching the age and gender of respondents and interviewers appears not to be a worthwhile strategy.


item nonresponse, survey design, survey error, face-to-face surveys, fixed-ef- fects negative binomial regression

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