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How bad is occupational coding error? A task-based approach

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  • Speer, Jamin D.

Abstract

Studies of occupational choice and mobility are often plagued by rampant occupational coding error. Use of task-based occupation measures, such as O*Net, may mitigate the bias caused by coding error if the occupation is misclassified as an occupation similar to the true occupation. Measuring occupational changes in “task space”, I find that task-based measures reduce the problems of coding error, but only slightly. If one does not correct for coding error, one overestimates traditional occupational mobility rates by about 90%; using task-based measures, the overestimate of mobility is still 75%. I also show that when tasks are used as regressors and coding error is not corrected, estimates will be attenuated by 15%–20%. Task-based measures are a slight improvement over census occupation codes but are no panacea for dealing with coding error.

Suggested Citation

  • Speer, Jamin D., 2016. "How bad is occupational coding error? A task-based approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 166-168.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:141:y:2016:i:c:p:166-168
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2016.02.025
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. vom Lehn, Christian & Ellsworth, Cache & Kroff, Zachary, 2020. "Reconciling Occupational Mobility in the Current Population Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 13509, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Vasilios D. Kosteas, 2020. "Occupational concentration and outcomes for displaced workers," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(4), pages 977-997, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Occupational mobility; Coding error; Task-based occupation measures;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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