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On the reliability of retrospective unemployment information in European household panel data


  • Kyyrä, Tomi
  • Wilke, Ralf A.


The retrospectively recalled calendar of activities in the European Community Household Panel is a prime resource for cross country analysis of unemployment experience. We investigate the reliability of these data and find that 26% of unemployed respondents misreported retrospectively their unemployment status in the subsequent interview. We observe large differences across countries: While the conditional probability of a successful recall is 96% in the UK, it is just 51% in Greece for a comparable individual. These evident data problems likely affect the results of cross country comparisons.

Suggested Citation

  • Kyyrä, Tomi & Wilke, Ralf A., 2011. "On the reliability of retrospective unemployment information in European household panel data," Working Papers 21, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fer:wpaper:21

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Konstantinos Tatsiramos, 2009. "Unemployment Insurance in Europe: Unemployment Duration and Subsequent Employment Stability," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1225-1260, December.
    2. Mathiowetz, Nancy A & Duncan, Greg J, 1988. "Out of Work, Out of Mind: Response Errors in Retrospective Reports of Unemployment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 6(2), pages 221-229, April.
    3. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
    4. Thierry Magnac & Michael Visser, 1999. "Transition Models With Measurement Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 466-474, August.
    5. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2005. "The consequences of labor market flexibility: Panel evidence based on survey data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1225-1259, July.
    6. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen, 1985. "Unemployment Through the Filter of Memory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(3), pages 747-773.
    7. Terracol, Antoine, 2009. "Guaranteed minimum income and unemployment duration in France," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 171-182, April.
    8. Pellizzari, Michele, 2006. "Unemployment duration and the interactions between unemployment insurance and social assistance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 773-798, December.
    9. Garcia Perez, Jose Ignacio & Rebollo Sanz, Yolanda, 2005. "Wage changes through job mobility in Europe: A multinomial endogenous switching approach," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 531-555, August.
    10. Franco Peracchi, 2002. "The European Community Household Panel: A review," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 63-90.
    11. Nickell, Stephen, 1998. "Unemployment: Questions and Some Answers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 802-816, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hairault, Jean-Olivier & Le Barbanchon, Thomas & Sopraseuth, Thepthida, 2015. "The cyclicality of the separation and job finding rates in France," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 60-84.
    2. Eerola, Essi & Lyytikäinen, Teemu, 2015. "On the role of public price information in housing markets," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 74-84.

    More about this item


    Recall error; unemployment; ECHP; Labour market; Työmarkkinat; Labor market and policies promoting economic growth; Työmarkkinat ja kasvua tukeva politiikka; C810 - Methodology for Collecting; Estimating; and Organizing Microeconomic Data; J640 - Unemployment: Models; Duration; Incidence; and Job Search;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access

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