Hannah Soiné, Jörg Dollmann
Obtaining consent for record linkage in panel surveys - a consent wording experiment using the CILS4EU-DE data

10th Conference of the European Survey Research Association, Milan, 17. bis 21. Juli 2023

Enriching survey data with existing administrative data requires obtaining respondents’ consent. Researchers want this consent rate to be as high as possible to maximize the sample they can use for their analyses. Comparatively little research has addressed this challenge: How should we design record linkage requests in order to maximize consent? When answering this question, we must consider that not all respondents might react in the same way to a specific framing. In particular for surveys targeting specific subgroups, such as immigrants and their descendants, it is important to know whether all respondent groups react similarly to the same wording of the consent question or whether there are differences that researchers can use to maximize consent.<\p> We took the ninth wave of the German continuation of the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries (CILS4EU-DE) as an opportunity to test whether wording the consent question for record linkage as a prospective gain (the information you will give will be more valuable) versus a sunk costs loss framing (the information you have given is less valuable) influences consent rates (see Sakshaug et al., 2015). The experiment was only implemented in the web survey (N = 3189), not in the telephone and paper- and-pencil mode. Data collection is almost finalized, and preliminary results suggest that the sunk costs loss framing leads to slightly higher consent rates, although the difference is not statistically significant. Since the CILS4EU sample includes a substantive share of respondents with an immigrant background, we are able to investigate whether the same wording is beneficial for obtaining consent from both groups. However, we find no variation between those with and without a migration background in terms of consent rates and their response to the question wording.