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How Well Can We Track Cohabitation Using the SIPP? A Consideration of Direct and Inferred Measures

  • Reagan Baughman
  • Stacy Dickert-Conlin
  • Scott Houser
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    Cohabitation is an alternative to marriage and to living independently for an increasing number of Americans. Despite this fact, research exploring links between living arrangements and economic behavior is limited by a lack of data that explicitly identify cohabiting couples. To aid researchers in using the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) rich data for cohabitation issues, our paper considers direct and inferred measures of cohabitation. Our findings suggest that: (1) the best inferred measures in pre-1966 SIPP depends upon a researcher's goals, and (2) the SIPP counts a larger number of cohabiting couples than the widely used CPS.

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    Paper provided by Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University in its series Center for Policy Research Working Papers with number 30.

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    Length: 27 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2000
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:30
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    1. Dan Black & Gary Gates & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2000. "Demographics of the gay and lesbian population in the United States: Evidence from available systematic data sources," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 139-154, May.
    2. Daniel R. Feenberg & Harvey S. Rosen, 1994. "Recent Developments in the Marriage Tax," NBER Working Papers 4705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Lynne Casper & Philip Cohen, 2000. "How does POSSLQ measure up? Historical estimates of cohabitation," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 237-245, May.
    4. R. A. Moffitt & R. Reville & A. E. Winkler, . "Beyond single mothers: Cohabition, marriage, and the U.S. welfare system," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1068-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    5. Carlson, Marcia & Danziger, Sheldon, 1999. "Cohabitation and the Measurement of Child Poverty," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(2), pages 179-91, June.
    6. James Alm & Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Leslie A. Whittington, 1999. "Policy Watch: The Marriage Penalty," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 193-204, Summer.
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