Full text: Wehner, Sigrid: Exploring trends and patterns of nonresponse

• The chances of convincing a person to give an interview, given contact could be 
established, is lowest for older people and highest for the young cohort 1960. The refusal 
rates increase from cohort 1960 to cohort 1930. This might nor merely be an effect of age, 
but also reflects different GDR specific experiences in the life course. For cohort 1930, 
the interview happened after a complete phase of active work in the GDR. Persons of 
cohort 1960 had, on the one hand, experienced their education and the beginning of their 
careers in the old regime. On the other hand, the political change concerned them to a 
larger extent as it occured in their years of establishing a family and a career. 
Some single results from TABLE 2 are: 
The total "neutral loss" is lowest for the oldest persons (cohort 1930: about 60 years old at 
field time) with 3,1% and highest for the youngest persons (cohort 1960: about 30 years old) 
with 9,5%. The predominant category is "person unknown" (5,1% for cohort 1960; 1,1% for 
cohort 1930). 
The category "illness" does not have very high percentages, although this rises from younger 
to older persons. 
The non-contact rate for the youngest group is double (6,4%) the rate of the oldest persons 
(3,1%). This is also consistent with the examination of the number of necessary contacts (see 
last section of TABLE 2). In cohort 1930, 51,4% (4,8%+46,6%) of the men could already be 
interviewed with a maximum effort of 2 contacts, whereas only 43,2% (2,3%+40,9%) of the 
1960 men could be reached after a maximum of 2 contacts. 
The following figure demonstrates how cohort 1930 was easier to contact. It shows the 
percentage of men who were interviewed after a maximum of 2 contacts (full line) and the 
percentage for those with 6 or more necessary contacts (dashed line). We see that cohort 1930 
is an exception when contrasted with any other group: the "low effort" group (maximum of 2 
necessary contacts) is highest with over 50% (versus 43,2% for 1960), the "high effort" group 
(6 or more contacts) is lowest with about 6% (versus 9,2% for 1960). 
Percentage of Successful Interviews after Low and High Number of Contacts 
Men in Wave 1 1991 
———menmax 2 contacts 
..a.. men: more than 6 contacts 
100%—all completed 
1930 1940 1950 1960 

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