Survey Response Variation in the Current Population Survey
AbstractThis paper investigates the problem of responseand coding errors in the Current Population Survey. It draws upon a potentially rich source o finformation for verifying survey answers, a three month matched sample of CPS respondents, to analyze whether individuals' questionnaire responses inadjacent months are mutually consistent.We focus primarily on reported durations of unemployment spells.For individuals who were coded as unemployed in two consecutive months and who experienced no intervening labor market withdrawal or employment,their reported duration in the second interview should exceed the first interview duration by about four weeks. However, this is not what survey responses show. In more than three quarters of all cases, reported durations in successive months are logically inconsistent. The reporting problemis not confined to spell durations. In 25 percent of all cases,the professed reason for unemployment changes as the unemployment spell progresses.Furthermore, analysis of labor force entrants shows that reported changes in labor force status between unemployment and not-in-the labor force are not reliable guides to actual behavior.We conclude that reported durations of unemployment, and to a lesser extent, reasons for unemployment, may be very misleading indicators of future behavior. Econometric analyses which focus on changes in individual behavior over time are likely to be badly flawed by spurious changes due to reporting errors. These problems with the Current Population Survey, one of the best sample surveys available, may suggest far greater difficulties in interpreting other sources of panel data.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1109.
Date of creation: Jul 1984
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
- James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984.
"Adjusting the Gross Changes Data: Implications for Labor Market Dynamics,"
351, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Adjusting the Gross Changes Data: Implications for Labor Market Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 1436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Addison, John T. & Portugal, Pedro, 2004.
"How Does the Unemployment Insurance System Shape the Time Profile of Jobless Duration?,"
IZA Discussion Papers
978, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Addison, John T. & Portugal, Pedro, 2004. "How does the unemployment insurance system shape the time profile of jobless duration?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 229-234, November.
- John T. Addison & Pedro Portugal, 2004. "How Does the Unemployment Insurance System Shape the Time Profile of Jobless Duration?," Working Papers w200401, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.