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Estimates of Year-to-Year Volatility in Earnings and in Household Incomes from Administrative, Survey, and Matched Data

  • Molly Dahl
  • Thomas DeLeire
  • Jonathan A. Schwabish

We document trends in the volatility in earnings and household incomes between 1985 and 2005 in three different data sources: administrative earnings records, the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) matched to administrative earnings records, and SIPP survey data. In all data sources, we find a substantial amount of year-to-year volatility in workers’ earnings and household incomes. In the data sources that contain administrative earnings, we find that volatility has been roughly constant, and has even declined slightly, since the mid-1980s. These findings differ from what is found using survey data and what has been reported in previous studies. Journal: Journal of Human Resources

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File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/46/4/750
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 46 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 750-774

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2011:iv:1:p:750-774
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  1. Haider, S.J., 2000. "Earnings Instability and Earnings Inequality of Males in the United States: 1967-1991," Papers 00-15, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  2. Hirsch, Barry & Schumacher, Edward J., 2003. "Match Bias in Wage Gap Estimates Due to Earnings Imputation," IZA Discussion Papers 783, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. John DiNardo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 1995. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," NBER Working Papers 5093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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 331-44, October.
  5. 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.
  6. Dooley, Martin D & Gottschalk, Peter, 1984. "Earnings Inequality among Males in the United States: Trends and the Effect of Labor Force Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 59-89, February.
  7. Hacker, Jacob S., 2008. "The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195335347, March.
  8. Bollinger, Christopher R. & Hirsch, Barry, 2005. "Match Bias from Earnings Imputation in the Current Population Survey: The Case of Imperfect Matching," IZA Discussion Papers 1846, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2010. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data since 1937," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 91-128, February.
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