NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Sara E. Helms

Department of Finance
Economics and Quantitative Methods
BEC 317-F
University of Alabama at Birmingham
1530 3rd Ave South
Birmingham, AL 35294

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2008How Social Processes Distort Measurement: The Impact of Survey Nonresponse on Estimates of Volunteer Work
with Katharine G. Abraham, Stanley Presser: w14076
Estimates of volunteering in the United States vary greatly from survey to survey and do not show the decline over time common to other measures of social capital. We argue that these anomalies are caused by the social processes that determine survey participation, in particular the propensity of people who do volunteer work to respond to surveys at higher rates than those who do not do volunteer work. Thus surveys with lower responses rates will usually have higher proportions of volunteers, and the decline in response rates over time likely has led to increasing overrepresentation of volunteers. We analyze data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) -- the sample for which is drawn from Current Population Survey (CPS) respondents -- together with data from the CPS Volunteering Suppl...

Published: KatharineĀ G. Abraham & Sara Helms & Stanley Presser, 2009. "How Social Processes Distort Measurement: The Impact of Survey Nonresponse on Estimates of Volunteer Work in the United States1," American Journal of Sociology, vol 114(4), pages 1129-1165.

 
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