Representative Wealth Data for Germany from the German SOEP: The Impact of Methodological Decisions around Imputation and the Choice of the Aggregation Unit
The definition and operationalization of wealth information in population surveys and the corresponding microdata requires a wide range of more or less normative assumptions. However, the decisions made in both the pre- and post-data-collection stage may interfere consid-erably with the substantive research question. Looking at wealth data from the German SOEP, this paper focuses on the impact of collecting information at the individual rather than house-hold level, and on "imputation and editing" as a means of dealing with measurement error. First, we assess how the choice of unit of aggregation or unit of analysis affects wealth distri-bution and inequality analysis. Obviously, when measured in "per capita household" terms, wealth is less unequally distributed than at the individual level. This is the result of significant redistribution within households, and also provides evidence of a significant persisting gender wealth gap. Secondly, we find multiple imputation to be an effective means of coping with selective non-response. There is a significant impact of imputation on the share of wealth holders (increas-ing on average by 15%) and also on aggregate wealth (plus 30%). However, with respect to inequality, the results are ambiguous. Looking at the major outcome variable for the whole population-net worth-the Gini coefficient decreases, whereas a top-sensitive measure dou-bles. The non-random selectivity built into the missing process and the consideration of this selectivity in the imputation process clearly contribute to this finding. Obviously, the treatment of measurement errors after data collection, especially with respect to the imputation of missing values, affects cross-national comparability and thus may require some cross-national harmonization of the imputation strategies applied to the various national datasets.
|Date of creation:||2007|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Mohrenstraße 58, D-10117 Berlin|
Web page: http://www.diw.de/en
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Heckman, James, 2013.
"Sample selection bias as a specification error,"
Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
- Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-161, January.
- René Böheim & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2000. "Do Current Income and Annual Income Measures Provide Different Pictures of Britain's Income Distribution?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 214, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- BÃ¶heim, RenÃ© & Jenkins, Stephen P., 2000. "Do current income and annual income measures provide different pictures of Britain's income distribution?," ISER Working Paper Series 2000-16, Institute for Social and Economic Research.