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Two Perspectives on Commuting: A Comparison of Home to Work Flows Across Job-Linked Survey and Administrative Files

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew S. Green
  • Mark J. Kutzbach
  • Lars Vilhuber

Abstract

Commuting flows and workplace employment data have a wide constituency of users including urban and regional planners, social science and transportation researchers, and businesses. The U.S. Census Bureau releases two, national data products that give the magnitude and characteristics of home to work flows. The American Community Survey (ACS) tabulates households’ responses on employment, workplace, and commuting behavior. The Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) program tabulates administrative records on jobs in the LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics (LODES). Design differences across the datasets lead to divergence in a comparable statistic: county-to-county aggregate commute flows. To understand differences in the public use data, this study compares ACS and LEHD source files, using identifying information and probabilistic matching to join person and job records. In our assessment, we compare commuting statistics for job frames linked on person, employment status, employer, and workplace and we identify person and job characteristics as well as design features of the data frames that explain aggregate differences. We find a lower rate of within-county commuting and farther commutes in LODES. We attribute these greater distances to differences in workplace reporting and to uncertainty of establishment assignments in LEHD for workers at multi-unit employers. Minor contributing factors include differences in residence location and ACS workplace edits. The results of this analysis and the data infrastructure developed will support further work to understand and enhance commuting statistics in both datasets.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew S. Green & Mark J. Kutzbach & Lars Vilhuber, 2017. "Two Perspectives on Commuting: A Comparison of Home to Work Flows Across Job-Linked Survey and Administrative Files," Working Papers 17-34, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:17-34
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2017/CES-WP-17-34.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Shihe Fu & Stephen L. Ross, 2013. "Wage Premia in Employment Clusters: How Important Is Worker Heterogeneity?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 271-304.
    2. repec:tpr:restat:v:100:y:2018:i:2:p:203-218 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Fredrik Andersson & John C. Haltiwanger & Mark J. Kutzbach & Henry O. Pollakowski & Daniel H. Weinberg, 2018. "Job Displacement and the Duration of Joblessness: The Role of Spatial Mismatch," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 203-218, May.
    4. repec:wyi:journl:002155 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Paul Ong & Matthew R. Graham, 2007. "Social, Economic, Spatial, and Commuting Patterns of Dual Jobholders," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2007-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. Katharine G. Abraham & John Haltiwanger & Kristin Sandusky & James R. Spletzer, 2013. "Exploring Differences in Employment between Household and Establishment Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(S1), pages 129-172.
    7. John Abowd & Bryce Stephens & Lars Vilhuber, 2006. "Confidentiality Protection in the Census Bureau Quarterly Workforce Indicators," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2006-02, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    8. Matthew R. Graham & Mark J. Kutzbach & Brian McKenzie, 2014. "Design Comparison of LODES and ACS Commuting Data Products," Working Papers 14-38, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. David W. Stevens, 2007. "Employment that is not covered by state unemployment insurance Laws," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2007-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    10. Matthew R. Graham & Mark J. Kutzbach & Danielle H. Sandler, 2017. "Developing a Residence Candidate File for Use With Employer-Employee Matched Data," Working Papers 17-40, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    11. Emily Isenberg & Liana Christin Landivar & Esther Mezey, 2013. "A Comparison Of Person-Reported Industry To Employer-Reported Industry In Survey And Administrative Data," Working Papers 13-47, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel H. Weinberg & John M. Abowd & Robert F. Belli & Noel Cressie & David C. Folch & Scott H. Holan & Margaret C. Levenstein & Kristen M. Olson & Jerome P. Reiter & Matthew D. Shapiro & Jolene Smyth, 2017. "Effects of a Government-Academic Partnership: Has the NSF-Census Bureau Research Network Helped Improve the U.S. Statistical System?," Working Papers 17-59r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Matthew R. Graham & Mark J. Kutzbach & Danielle H. Sandler, 2017. "Developing a Residence Candidate File for Use With Employer-Employee Matched Data," Working Papers 17-40, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    U.S. Census Bureau; LEHD; LODES; ACS; Employer-employee matched data; Commuting; Record linkage;

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