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Identifying couples in administrative data
[Identifizierung von Ehepaaren in Administrativen Daten]


  • Deborah Goldschmidt

    (Analysis Group)

  • Wolfram Klosterhuber


  • Johannes F Schmieder

    () (Boston University College of Arts & Sciences


Abstract We develop a new method for identifying married couples in administrative data. Using address and name data from the universe of employment records in Germany we find around 3.3 Mio. pairs of individuals who are living at the same location, have a matching last name and are less than 15 years apart in age. We show supporting evidence that around 89 to 94% of these pairs are indeed married couples and provide careful consistency checks. Using information from the German Microcensus, we show that our method identifies about 17% of all married couples in Germany and about 35% of couples where both spouses are in social security covered jobs or unemployed. In ongoing work this couple identifier will be made available to the research community and users for the IAB administrative data. Our method thus opens the door for household level analyses benefiting from the precision and very large number of observations available in administrative data.

Suggested Citation

  • Deborah Goldschmidt & Wolfram Klosterhuber & Johannes F Schmieder, 2017. "Identifying couples in administrative data
    [Identifizierung von Ehepaaren in Administrativen Daten]
    ," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 50(1), pages 29-43, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jlabrs:v:50:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s12651-017-0218-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s12651-017-0218-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
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    4. Kristiina Huttunen & Jenni Kellokumpu, 2016. "The Effect of Job Displacement on Couples' Fertility Decisions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 403-442.
    5. Johannes F. Schmieder† & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2011. "The Effects Of Extended Unemployment Insurance Over The Business Cycle: Evidence From Regression Discontinuity Estimates Over Twenty Years," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-063, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    6. Marianne Bertrand & Emir Kamenica & Jessica Pan, 2015. "Gender Identity and Relative Income within Households," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(2), pages 571-614.
    7. Tanja Hethey-Maier & Johannes F. Schmieder, 2013. "Does the Use of Worker Flows Improve the Analysis of Establishment Turnover? Evidence from German Administrative Data," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 133(4), pages 477-510.
    8. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2016. "The Effect of Unemployment Benefits and Nonemployment Durations on Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 739-777, March.
    9. Wolfgang Frimmel & Martin Halla & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2014. "Can Pro-Marriage Policies Work? An Analysis of Marginal Marriages," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(4), pages 1357-1379, August.
    10. Inés Hardoy & Pål Schøne, 2014. "Displacement and household adaptation: insured by the spouse or the state?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(3), pages 683-703, July.
    11. Uta Schönberg & Johannes Ludsteck, 2014. "Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage and Mothers' Labor Market Outcomes after Childbirth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(3), pages 469-505.
    12. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter & Stefan Bender, 2012. "The Effects of Extended Unemployment Insurance Over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Regression Discontinuity Estimates Over 20 Years," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 701-752.
    13. Lundberg, Shelly, 1985. "The Added Worker Effect," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 11-37, January.
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    More about this item


    Couples; Geocoding; Administrative data; Household analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure


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