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Adjusting Imperfect Data: Overview and Case Studies

In: The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison

  • Lars Vilhuber

Research users of large administrative have to adjust their data for quirks, problems, and issues that are inevitable when working with these kinds of datasets. Not all solutions to these problems are identical, and how they differ may affect how the data is to be interpreted. Some elements of the data, such as the unit of observation, remain fundamentally different, and it is important to keep that in mind when comparing data across countries. In this paper (written for Lazear and Shaw, 2007), we focus on the differences in the underlying data for a selection of country datasets. We describe two data elements that remain fundamentally different across countries -- the sampling or data collection methodology, and the basic unit of analysis (establishment or firm) -- and the extent to which they differ. We then proceed to document some of the problems that affect longitudinally linked administrative data in general, and we describe some of the solutions analysts and statistical agencies have implemented, and explore, through a select set of case studies, how each adjustment or absence thereof might affect the data.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Edward P. Lazear & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2009. "The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number laze08-1, August.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 2366.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:2366
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. John M. Abowd & Patrick Corbel & Francis Kramarz, 1996. "The Entry and Exit of Workers and the Growth of Employment: An Analysis of French Establishments," NBER Working Papers 5551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gary Benedetto & John Haltiwanger & Julia Lane & Kevin McKinney, 2003. "Using Worker Flows in the Analysis of the Firm," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2003-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised May 2004.
    3. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings losses of displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    4. Parent, Daniel, 2000. "Industry-Specific Capital and the Wage Profile: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 306-23, April.
    5. Bruno Contini & Claudia Villosio, 2003. "Worker Mobility, Job Displacement and Wage Dynamics: Italy 1985-91," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 24, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    6. Abowd, John M & Zellner, Arnold, 1985. "Estimating Gross Labor-Force Flows," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 254-83, June.
    7. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis, 1999. "The analysis of labor markets using matched employer-employee data," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 40, pages 2629-2710 Elsevier.
    8. Anderson, Patricia M. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2000. "The effects of the unemployment insurance payroll tax on wages, employment, claims and denials," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 81-106, October.
    9. Roberto Leombruni & Roberto Quaranta, 2002. "The Unemployment Route to Versatility," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 16, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
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