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The Sensitivity of Economic Statistics to Coding Errors in Personal Identifiers

  • Abowd, John M.
  • Vilhuber, Lars

In this paper, we describe the sensitivity of small-cell flow statistics to coding errors in the identity of the underlying entities. Specifically, we present results based on a comparison of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) before and after correcting for such errors in SSN-based identifiers in the underlying individual wage records. The correction used involves a novel application of existing statistical matching techniques. It is found that even a very conservative correction procedure has a sizable impact on the statistics. The average bias ranges from 0.25 percent up to 15 percent for flow statistics, and up to 5 percent for payroll aggregates.

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Article provided by American Statistical Association in its journal Journal of Business and Economic Statistics.

Volume (Year): 23 (2005)
Issue (Month): (April)
Pages: 133-152

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Handle: RePEc:bes:jnlbes:v:23:y:2005:p:133-152
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  1. Audra Bowlus & Lars Vilhuber, 2001. "Displaced Workers, Early Leavers, and Re-employment Wages," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20015, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  2. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings losses of displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Simon Burgess & Julia Lane & David Stevens, 1996. "Job Flows, Worker Flows and Churning," Labor and Demography 9604004, EconWPA.
  4. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  5. John M. Abowd & Paul A. Lengermann & Lars Vilhuber, 2002. "The Creation of the Employment Dynamics Estimates," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. Julia I. Lane & John C. Haltiwanger & James Spletzer, 1999. "Productivity Differences across Employers: The Roles of Employer Size, Age, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 94-98, May.
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