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The continuous sample of working lives: improving its representativeness


  • Juan Manuel Pérez-Salamero González

    () (University of Valencia)

  • Marta Regúlez-Castillo

    () (University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU))

  • Carlos Vidal-Meliá

    () (University of Valencia)


This paper studies the representativeness of the Continuous Sample of Working Lives (CSWL), a set of anonymized microdata containing information on individuals from Spanish Social Security records. We examine several CSWL waves (2005–2013) and show that it is not representative for the population with a pension income. We then develop a methodology to draw a large dataset from the CSWL that is much more representative of the retired population in terms of pension type, gender and age. This procedure also makes it possible for users to choose between goodness of fit and subsample size. In order to illustrate the practical significance of our methodology, the paper also contains an application in which we generate a large subsample distribution from the 2010 CSWL. The results are striking: with a very small reduction in the size of the original CSWL, we significantly reduce errors in estimating pension expenditure for 2010, with a p value greater or equal to 0.999.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Manuel Pérez-Salamero González & Marta Regúlez-Castillo & Carlos Vidal-Meliá, 2017. "The continuous sample of working lives: improving its representativeness," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 43-95, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:series:v:8:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s13209-017-0154-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s13209-017-0154-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ignacio Moral-Arce & Ció Patxot & Guadalupe Souto, 2008. "La sostenibilidad del sistema de pensiones. una aproximación a partir de la MCVL," Revista de Economia Aplicada, Universidad de Zaragoza, Departamento de Estructura Economica y Economia Publica, vol. 16(E-1), pages 29-66, Special N.
    2. Izquierdo, Mario & Lacuesta, Aitor & Vegas, Raquel, 2009. "Assimilation of immigrants in Spain: A longitudinal analysis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 669-678, December.
    3. Stéphane Bonhomme & Laura Hospido, 2017. "The Cycle of Earnings Inequality: Evidence from Spanish Social Security Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(603), pages 1244-1278, August.
    4. Anton Grafström & Lina Schelin, 2014. "How to Select Representative Samples," Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, Danish Society for Theoretical Statistics;Finnish Statistical Society;Norwegian Statistical Association;Swedish Statistical Association, vol. 41(2), pages 277-290, June.
    5. Raquel Vegas Sánchez & Isabel Argimón & Marta Botella & Clara González, 2013. "Old age pensions and retirement in Spain," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 273-307, August.
    6. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Clara I. González, 2013. "Reforma de pensiones 2011 en España," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 204(1), pages 9-44, March.
    7. Vall Castello, Judit, 2012. "Promoting employment of disabled women in Spain; Evaluating a policy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 82-91.
    8. St鰨ane Bonhomme & Laura Hospido, 2013. "Earnings inequality in Spain: new evidence using tax data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(30), pages 4212-4225, October.
    9. José María Arranz & Carlos García-Serrano, 2014. "The interplay of the unemployment compensation system, fixed-term contracts and rehirings: The case of Spain," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(8), pages 1236-1259, October.
    10. Ralf K. Himmelreicher & Michael Stegmann, 2008. "European Data Watch: New possibilities for socio-economic research through longitudinal data from the Research Data Center of the Federal German Pension Insurance (FDZ-RV)," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 128(4), pages 647-660.
    11. Juan Manuel Pérez-Salamero & Marta Regúlez Castillo & Carlos Vidal Meliá, 2016. "Análisis de la representatividad de la MCVL: el caso de las prestaciones del sistema público de pensiones," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 217(2), pages 67-130, June.
    12. Mingfeng Lin & Henry C. Lucas & Galit Shmueli, 2013. "Research Commentary ---Too Big to Fail: Large Samples and the p -Value Problem," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 24(4), pages 906-917, December.
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    More about this item


    Continuous Sample of Working Lives; Public pension system; Subsample selection; Stratified sampling; Chi-square test; p value;

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies


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