Dear Understanding Society team,
I was hoping you might be able to help me with a question: We are currently studying the effect of local economic shocks on various individual outcomes. We use the exact timing of the interviews to distinguish between individuals interviewed before and after the shocks. Previous papers (e.g., Powdthavee, N., Plagnol, A.C., Fritjers, P. and Clark, A.E. (2019). Who got the Brexit blues? The effect of Brexit on subjective wellbeing in the UK. Economica 86: 471-494. or Braakmann, N. (2021). Immigration status uncertainty and mental health – Evidence from Brexit. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society 60: 521- 548.) have relied on the argument that the timing of the interview is essentially orthogonal to the respective shock (Brexit in the two cases above). I am now currently dealing with a reviewer who has pointed out that "In Germany, there are for instance studies that show that timing of interview correlates with the socio-economic background of the respondents.” This strikes me as a valid point - if there is selectivity on such characteristics and if these characteristics correlate with whatever shock is being looked at, this could indeed cause bias. Before I go and do 20 tests on interview timings and various respondent characteristics, I was wondering whether you have any information about any selectivity or how interviews are timed that you might be willing to share.
All best and thank you in advance,