The Worker-Establishment Characteristics Database
In: Labor Statistics Measurement Issues
A data set combining information on the characteristics of both workers and their employers has long been a grail for labor economists. The reason for this interest is that while a number of theoretical models in labor economics stress the importance of employer-employee matching in determining labor market outcomes, almost all empirical work relies on either worker surveys with little information about employers or establishment surveys with little information about workers. The Worker-Establishment Characteristic Database (WECD) represents just such an employer-employee-matched database. Containing 199,557 manufacturing workers matched to 16,144 manufacturing establishments, the WECD is the largest worker-firm matched data set available for the U.S. This paper describes how this data set was constructed and assesses the usefulness of these data for economic research. In addition, I discuss some of the issues that can be addressed using employer-employee-matched data and plans for creating future versions of the WECD.
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