Trends in the Transitory Variance of Male Earnings in the U.S., 1991-2003: Preliminary Evidence from LEHD data
We estimate the trend in the transitory variance of male earnings in the U.S. from 1991 to 2005 using an administrative data set of Unemployment Insurance wage reports, the Longitudinal Employer-Employer Dynamics data set (LEHD), and compare the findings to those of Moffitt and Gottschalk (2008) obtained from the Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Despite substantial differences between the LEHD and the PSID in the levels of cross- sectional variances of male earnings, the changes over time in transitory variances obtained from estimating two of the models in Moffitt and Gottschalk are quite similar in the two data sets. Specifically, over the 1991-2003 period, transitory variances fell slightly, and then rose slightly, returning in 2003 to the same approximate level they had obtained in 1991. Overall, the analysis of the LEHD data confirms the findings based on the PSID that the transitory variance did not show a trend net of cycle over this period.
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