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Activity Number: 586 - Weighting and Variance Estimation
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 2, 2017 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Survey Research Methods Section
Abstract #323163 View Presentation
Title: One-Versus Two-Step Approaches to Survey Nonresponse Adjustments
Author(s): Robert Fay* and Minsun Riddles
Companies: Westat and Westat
Keywords: Machine learning ; Generalized boosted models ; Extreme gradient boosting ; Gradient boosting

In a series of papers, Little and Vartivarian (2003, 2005) argued that basing survey nonresponse adjustments on propensity to respond could increase the sampling variance of the estimates while not reducing bias, if the predictors of response were unrelated to key survey outcomes. Applying this idea to a 2014 military workforce survey, RAND researchers used machine learning approaches to develop a two-step method for nonresponse adjustment. The two step method comprises (1) a model for the key outcome variables based on respondents and (2) a response propensity model using the predicted key outcome variables as predictors for all sampled units. At the 2016 JSM, we presented simulation results assessing the predictive performance of competing machine learning algorithms in the first of the two steps. In this paper, we investigate the circumstances necessary for the two-step method to outperform nonresponse approaches in common practice, most of which can be regarded as single-step methods.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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