Efficient estimation of descriptive statistics from panels with partial replacement

Date of publication: June 15, 1982


This paper deals with efficient estimation of descriptive statistics such as means, totals and percentages from rotating panel surveys (panels with partial replacement). It is supposed that the variable under study is measured repeatedly. When the correlation between consecutive panel estimates of that variable is high and positive, a considerable gain in precision can be achieved using special methods. This gain in precision can be translated into a smaller panel size if the accuracy of the estimates is satisfactory already. The gain can be achieved by using a so-called composite estimate , which is a weighted combination of current and previous estimates. The method of the composite estimate will be described in section 2 and its variance will be discussed briefly in section 3. In section 4 some results will be given on the possible gain in efficiency which the use of composite estimates may yield when respondents are replaced after three measurements. Most of the theory in sections 2 and 3 however holds for all panels with replacement after a fixed number of measurements, whether it be two or ten waves. The paper continues with a worked-out example in section 5 and the conclusions are given in section 6.

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