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Re: st: Treatment for Missing Values - What Options ?

From   Chao Yawo <>
Subject   Re: st: Treatment for Missing Values - What Options ?
Date   Tue, 14 Jul 2009 16:18:12 -0400


On Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 4:05 PM, Maarten buis<> wrote:
> --- On Tue, 14/7/09, Chao Yawo wrote:
>> I read the Demographic and Health survey website further,
>> and the "missing values" are truly missing - due to
>> interviewer errors.
> Are these errors made by the interviewer, or are these
> respondents that refuse to answer? If it is interviewer
> error, is it likely that this error is related to your
> dependent variable? If this is not the case then just
> ignoring those cases will not lead to biased estimates,
> and this would than be the safest strategy. See, for
> example Paul Allison (2001) Missing Data. Thousand Oaks:
> Sage.

CY:  here is the explanation given by DHS:

A “missing value” is defined as a variable that should have a
response, but because of interview errors the question was not asked.
The general rule for the survey data processing is that under no
circumstances an answer should be made up. Instead, a missing value is
assigned in the data file (see:

So the missing values result from interview errors, and the errors are
not related to my DV.  In fact, the DV had only 161 missing variables.
 If I ignore the errors on that single IV then it implies I will have
to accept the lower N (sample size) my analysis, and explain that in
my write-up (that changes in sample size for the regression result
from missing values on some of the covariates??

>> So, instead of imputing them, I decided on a different
>> strategy. Conceptually, what is important for HIV risk
>> is not necessarily the issue of unprotected sex, but
>> unprotected sex with partners other than one's primary
>> partner.
> I don't think I buy that argument; the fact that I am
> faithful to my partner doesn't mean that my partner is
> faithful to me or that my partner hasn't contracted HIV
> in the past.

CY:  I thought about that possibility too, though I recall UNAIDS
putting a lot of premium on unsafe sex in non-spousal/non-cohabiting
unions.  But I agree, it doesn't discount safer sex practices in
unions, unless one is certain that their partner is faithful and both
consent to routine STD tests.

Thanks, CY
> Hope this helps,
> Maarten
> -----------------------------------------
> Maarten L. Buis
> Institut fuer Soziologie
> Universitaet Tuebingen
> Wilhelmstrasse 36
> 72074 Tuebingen
> Germany
> -----------------------------------------
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