Measuring the Measurable: Why can’t we Agree on the Number of Telecommuters in the U.S.?
AbstractUsing telecommuting as a case study, we demonstrate that definitions, measurement instruments, sampling and sometimes vested interests affect the quality and utility even of seemingly objective and âmeasurableâ data. Little consensus exists with respect to the definition of telecommuting, or to possible distinctions from related terms such as teleworking. Such a consensus is unlikely, since the âbestâ definition of telecommuting depends on oneâs point of reference and purpose. However, differing definitions confound efforts to measure the amount of telecommuting and how it is changing over time. This paper evaluates estimates of the amounts of telecommuting occurring in the U. S. obtained from several different sources: the U. S. Census, the American Housing Survey, several Work at Home supplements to the Current Population Survey, a series of market research surveys, and the trade association-sponsored Telework America surveys. Many of the issues raised here are transferable to other contexts, and indirectly serve as suggestions for improving data collection in the future.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Quality and Quantity.
Volume (Year): 39 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (08)
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Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/11135
Other versions of this item:
- Patricia Mokhtarian & Ilan Salomon & Sangho Choo, 2005. "Measuring the Measurable: Why Can't We Agree on the Number of Telecommuters in the U.S.?," Labor and Demography 0508011, EconWPA.
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