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Abstract

Software which dials specified telephone numbers and delivers an automated telephone message was tested as an alternative to postcard reminders in the Pennsylvania County Estimates Survey. Similar to prior research (McCarthy, 2007), software automatically dialed and delivered a pre-recorded message to two randomly selected subsamples of operations. In the present experiment, one subsample received a message recorded by an unidentified speaker (the field office director) following the first mailing of the questionnaire. A second subsample received the same message recorded by the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture. A third random sample received the same reminder message from the field office director, on a traditional postcard reminder delivered via US Postal Service mail. Response rates for each of these groups were compared to a control group which received no reminder. All three reminder groups had higher response rates than the control group, but unlike a previous test, the highest response rate was produced by the generic automated telephone message.

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