Partisanship and survey refusal

Mark Borgschulte, Heepyung Cho, Darren Lubotsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Response rates to important surveys used in social science research have been falling precipitously over the last few decades, raising questions about the representativeness of the resulting data and the quality of evidence that comes from it. We examine how partisan preferences influence response to the Current Population Survey (CPS). Using U.S. state and metro vote shares or an individual-level model based on the longitudinal structure of the CPS, we find evidence of a political cycle in refusals, but that partisanship does not explain the surge in refusals since 2009. Evidence from a natural experiment in Tea Party support using rain on the day of the first Tea Party rally indicates the anti-Census and anti-survey rhetoric of the Tea Party did not increase refusals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-357
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Current population survey
  • Survey refusal
  • Unemployment rate
  • Unit non-response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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