The effect of survey design on household reporting of financial difficulty

Robert Breunig*, Rebecca McKibbin

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    We compare two Australian studies which ask households to report on the incidence of specific events of financial difficulty such as failure to pay the utility bill on time or seeking help from welfare agencies. Although collected within the same year, the two studies use markedly different survey methodologies. One study uses a written self-completion questionnaire completed after a face-to-face interview, asks about individual experience of financial difficulty and interviews each member of the household over the age of 15 years. The other study uses a computer-assisted face-to-face interview and asks one randomly selected member of the household about household level experience of financial difficulty. We find substantial differences in response rates, even after controlling for individual and household characteristics. The self-completion questionnaire elicits 33% more reports of financial difficulty for singles and 36% more for couple-headed households.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)991-1005
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A: Statistics in Society
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


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