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The Evolution of Rotation Group Bias: Will the Real Unemployment Rate Please Stand Up?

Author

Listed:
  • Alan B. Krueger

    (Princeton University)

  • Alexandre Mas

    (Princeton University)

  • Xiaotong Niu

    (Congressional Budget Office)

Abstract

We document that rotation group bias—the tendency for the unemployment rate to vary systematically by month in sample—in the Current Population Survey (CPS) has worsened over time. Estimated unemployment rates for earlier rotation groups have grown sharply relative to later rotation groups; both should be nationally representative samples. This bias increased discretely after the 1994 CPS redesign, and rising nonresponse rates are likely a significant contributor. Survey nonresponse increased after the redesign, mirroring the evolution of rotation group bias. Consistent with this explanation, rotation group bias for households that responded in all eight interviews remained stable over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan B. Krueger & Alexandre Mas & Xiaotong Niu, 2017. "The Evolution of Rotation Group Bias: Will the Real Unemployment Rate Please Stand Up?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 258-264, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:99:y:2017:i:2:p:258-264
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Solon, Gary, 1986. "Effects of Rotation Group Bias on Estimation of Unemployment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 105-109, January.
    2. Daniel Aaronson & Bhashkar Mazumder & Shani Schechter, 2010. "What is behind the rise in long-term unemployment?," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 28-51.
    3. Katharine G. Abraham & Robert Shimer, 2001. "Changes in Unemployment Duration and Labor Force Attachment," NBER Working Papers 8513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ori Heffetz & Daniel B. Reeves, 2016. "Difficulty to Reach Respondents and Nonresponse Bias: Evidence from Large Government Surveys," NBER Working Papers 22333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Kathrin Ellieroth, 2019. "Spousal Insurance, Precautionary Labor Supply, and the Business Cycle - A Quantitative Analysis," 2019 Meeting Papers 1134, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Abdullah Almaatouq, 2016. "Complex Systems and a Computational Social Science Perspective on the Labor Market," Papers 1606.08562, arXiv.org.
    4. Hirsch, Barry & Husain, Muhammad M. & Winters, John V., 2016. "The Puzzling Fixity of Multiple Job Holding across Regions and Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 9631, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Bollinger, Christopher R. & Hirsch, Barry & Hokayem, Charles M. & Ziliak, James P., 2018. "Trouble in the Tails? What We Know about Earnings Nonresponse Thirty Years after Lillard, Smith, and Welch," IZA Discussion Papers 11710, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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