IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jlabec/v23y2005i2p235-258.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Iatrogenic Specification Error: A Cautionary Tale of Cleaning Data

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher R. Bollinger

    (University of Kentucky)

  • Amitabh Chandra

    (Dartmouth College, Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn), and National Bureau of Economic Research)

Abstract

It is common practice to use sensible rules of thumb for cleaning data. Measurement error is often the justification for removing (trimming) or recoding (winsorizing) observations where the dependent variable has values that lie outside a specified range. We consider a general measurement error process that nests many plausible models. Analytic results demonstrate that winsorizing and trimming are solutions for a narrow class of error processes. Indeed such procedures can induce or exacerbate bias. Monte Carlo simulations and empirical results demonstrate the fragility of cleaning. Even on root mean square error criteria, we cannot find generalizable justifications for these procedures.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher R. Bollinger & Amitabh Chandra, 2005. "Iatrogenic Specification Error: A Cautionary Tale of Cleaning Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 235-258, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:23:y:2005:i:2:p:235-258
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/428028
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bollinger, Christopher R, 1998. "Measurement Error in the Current Population Survey: A Nonparametric Look," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 576-594, July.
    2. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 2004. "Match Bias in Wage Gap Estimates Due to Earnings Imputation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 689-722, July.
    3. 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.
    4. Goldberger, Arthur S., 1981. "Linear regression after selection," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 357-366, April.
    5. Christopher R. Bollinger & Amitabh Chandra, 2005. "Iatrogenic Specification Error: A Cautionary Tale of Cleaning Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 235-258, April.
    6. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366 Elsevier.
    7. Manski, C.F., 1992. "Identification Problems in the Social Sciences," Working papers 9217, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    8. MacDonald, Glenn M & Robinson, Chris, 1985. "Cautionary Tails about Arbitrary Deletion of Observations; or, Throwing the Variance Out with the Bathwater," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 124-152, April.
    9. Bollinger, Christopher R., 1996. "Bounding mean regressions when a binary regressor is mismeasured," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 387-399, August.
    10. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 151-200.
    11. 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.
    12. Hyslop, Dean R & Imbens, Guido W, 2001. "Bias from Classical and Other Forms of Measurement Error," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(4), pages 475-481, October.
    13. 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.
    14. Horowitz, Joel L & Manski, Charles F, 1995. "Identification and Robustness with Contaminated and Corrupted Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(2), pages 281-302, March.
    15. Marco Manacorda, 2004. "Can the Scala Mobile Explain the Fall and Rise of Earnings Inequality in Italy? A Semiparametric Analysis, 19771993," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 585-614, July.
    16. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Alexandre Mas, 2008. "Labour Unrest and the Quality of Production: Evidence from the Construction Equipment Resale Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 229-258.
    2. Lee, Nayoung & Moon, Hyungsik Roger & Weidner, Martin, 2012. "Analysis of interactive fixed effects dynamic linear panel regression with measurement error," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 239-242.
    3. Elizabeth Asiedu & James Freeman, 2009. "The Effect of Corruption on Investment Growth: Evidence from Firms in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Transition Countries ," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 200-214, May.
    4. Harley Frazis & Mark A Loewenstein, 2006. "Wage Compression and the Division of Returns to Productivity Growth: Evidence from EOPP," Working Papers 398, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    5. Lozano, Fernando A., 2012. "What Happened to God's Time? The Evolution of Secularism and Hours of Work in America, Evidence from Religious Holidays," IZA Discussion Papers 6552, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Christopher R. Bollinger & Amitabh Chandra, 2005. "Iatrogenic Specification Error: A Cautionary Tale of Cleaning Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 235-258, April.
    7. Narayana Kocherlakota & Luigi Pistaferri, 2009. "Asset Pricing Implications of Pareto Optimality with Private Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 555-590, June.
    8. Seik Kim, 2013. "Wage Mobility of Foreign-Born Workers in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(3), pages 628-658.
    9. Puja Vasudeva Dutta, 2006. "Returns to Education: New Evidence for India, 1983-1999," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 431-451.
    10. Timothy Grieder & Hashmat Khan, 2017. "The Collateral Channel: How Real Estate Shocks Affect Corporate Investment:Comment," Carleton Economic Papers 17-03, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    11. Mika Maliranta & Pekka Ilmakunnas, 2005. "Decomposing productivity and wage effects of intraestablishment labor restructuring," Labor and Demography 0511003, EconWPA.
    12. Michiel Bijlsma & Ferry Haaijen & Casper van Ewijk, 2014. "Economic growth and funded pension systems," CPB Discussion Paper 279, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    13. Barry Reilly & Puja Vasudeva Dutta, 2005. "The Gender Pay Gap and Trade Liberalisation: Evidence for India," PRUS Working Papers 32, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex.
    14. repec:wsi:medjxx:v:01:y:2009:i:02:n:s1793812009000085 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Djavad Salehi-Isfahani & Insan Tunali & Ragui Assaad, 2009. "A Comparative Study Of Returns To Education Of Urban Men In Egypt, Iran, And Turkey," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(02), pages 145-187.
    16. Frémeaux, Nicolas & Lefranc, Arnaud, 2017. "Assortative Mating and Earnings Inequality in France," IZA Discussion Papers 11084, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. repec:eee:econom:v:200:y:2017:i:2:p:251-259 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:23:y:2005:i:2:p:235-258. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division). General contact details of provider: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.