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Iatrogenic Specification Error: A Cautionary Tale of Cleaning Data

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  • Christopher R. Bollinger

    (University of Kentucky)

  • Amitabh Chandra

    (Dartmouth College, Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn), and National Bureau of Economic Research)

Abstract

It is common practice to use sensible rules of thumb for cleaning data. Measurement error is often the justification for removing (trimming) or recoding (winsorizing) observations where the dependent variable has values that lie outside a specified range. We consider a general measurement error process that nests many plausible models. Analytic results demonstrate that winsorizing and trimming are solutions for a narrow class of error processes. Indeed such procedures can induce or exacerbate bias. Monte Carlo simulations and empirical results demonstrate the fragility of cleaning. Even on root mean square error criteria, we cannot find generalizable justifications for these procedures.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 23 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 235-258

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:23:y:2005:i:2:p:235-258

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  1. Bollinger, Christopher R., 1996. "Bounding mean regressions when a binary regressor is mismeasured," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 387-399, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Maliranta, Mika & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2005. "Decomposing productivity and wage effects of intra-establishment labor restructuring," Discussion Papers 993, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  2. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani & Insan Tunali & Ragui Assaad, 2009. "A Comparative Study Of Returns To Education Of Urban Men In Egypt, Iran, And Turkey," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(02), pages 145-187.
  3. Barry Reilly & Puja Vasudeva Dutta, 2005. "The Gender Pay Gap and Trade Liberalisation: Evidence for India," PRUS Working Papers 32, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex.
  4. Nayoung Lee & Hyungsik Roger Moon & Martin Weidner, 2011. "Analysis of interactive fixed effects dynamic linear panel regression with measurement error," CeMMAP working papers CWP37/11, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Narayana R Kocherlakota & Luigi Pistaferri, 2005. "Asset Pricing Implications of Pareto Optimality with Private Information," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000507, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Lozano, Fernando A., 2012. "What Happened to God's Time? The Evolution of Secularism and Hours of Work in America, Evidence from Religious Holidays," IZA Discussion Papers 6552, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Harley Frazis & Mark A Loewenstein, 2006. "Wage Compression and the Division of Returns to Productivity Growth: Evidence from EOPP," Working Papers 398, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  8. Elizabeth Asiedu & James Freeman, 2008. "The Effect of Corruption on Investment Growth: Evidence from Firms in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Transition Countries," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 200802, University of Kansas, Department of Economics.
  9. Puja Vasudeva Dutta, 2006. "Returns to Education: New Evidence for India, 1983-1999," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 431-451.
  10. William H. J. Hubbard, 2011. "The Phantom Gender Difference in the College Wage Premium," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(3), pages 568-586.

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