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Social Isolation

Theories of social isolation (or “social location”) have been used to explain lower cooperation in responding to surveys among certain subgroups in society, such as the elderly, minority racial and ethnic groups, and lower socioeconomic status groups. The social isolation theory of unit nonresponse states that subgroups in a society that are less connected to the dominant culture of the society—that is, those who do not feel part of the larger society or bound by its norms—will be less likely to cooperate with a survey request that represents the interests of the dominant society. According to the leverage-saliency theory, respondents decide to participate in a survey depending on survey attributes such as how long the interview might take, the presence of an incentive, and what ...

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