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How Well Do We Measure Employer-Provided Health Insurance Coverage?




Using data from the Current Population Survey and a new matched survey of employers and employees, this paper investigates error in the measurement of employer-provided health insurance. The often-used March CPS gives lower coverage estimates than the April/May CPS, which focuses on employer-provided coverage. In addition, individuals who are in both the March CPS and April/May CPS often give inconsistent responses on their health insurance status, perhaps due to differences in the wording of the health insurance questions. A new survey shows that workers tend to report higher rates of coverage than do firms and that many individuals also disagree with their employers about their coverage. The differences in the firm and worker reports of coverage are uncorrelated with standard worker and firm characteristics, suggesting classical measurement error that does not bias the parameters of models explaining health coverage. When health insurance is used as an explanatory variable, however, measurement error results in significant bias toward zero. Copyright 1998 Western Economic Association International.

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  • Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black & Frank A. Scott, 1998. "How Well Do We Measure Employer-Provided Health Insurance Coverage?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(3), pages 356-367, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:16:y:1998:i:3:p:356-367

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Freeman, Richard B, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
    2. Mellow, Wesley & Sider, Hal, 1983. "Accuracy of Response in Labor Market Surveys: Evidence and Implications," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 331-344, October.
    3. Duncan, Greg J & Hill, Daniel H, 1985. "An Investigation of the Extent and Consequences of Measurement Error in Labor-Economic Survey Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 508-532, October.
    4. Bound, John & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "The Extent of Measurement Error in Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, January.
    5. Bound, John, et al, 1994. "Evidence on the Validity of Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Labor Market Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 345-368, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Craig Gundersen & Brent Kreider, 2008. "Food Stamps and Food Insecurity: What Can Be Learned in the Presence of Nonclassical Measurement Error?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 352-382.
    2. Kreider, Brent & Pepper, John V., 2011. "Identification of Expected Outcomes in a Data Error Mixing Model With Multiplicative Mean Independence," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 29(1), pages 49-60.
    3. Brent Kreider & Steven C. Hill, 2009. "Partially Identifying Treatment Effects with an Application to Covering the Uninsured," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
    4. Lo Sasso, Anthony T. & Buchmueller, Thomas C., 2004. "The effect of the state children's health insurance program on health insurance coverage," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 1059-1082, September.
    5. Buchmueller Thomas C & Lo Sasso Anthony T & Wong Kathleen N, 2008. "How Did SCHIP Affect the Insurance Coverage of Immigrant Children?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 1-25, January.
    6. Thomas Buchmueller & John Dinardo, 2002. "Did Community Rating Induce an Adverse Selection Death Spiral? Evidence from New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 280-294, March.
    7. Cynthia Bansak & Steven Raphael, 2007. "The effects of state policy design features on take-up and crowd-out rates for the state children's health insurance program," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(1), pages 149-175.
    8. Kreider, Brent, 2006. "Partially Identifying the Prevalence of Health Insurance Given Contaminated Sampling Response Error," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12588, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    9. Meyer, Rebecca & Orazem, Peter & Wachenheim, William A., 2002. "Labor Market Implications of Rising Costs of Employer-Provided Health Insurance," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10016, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.

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