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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


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Reagan Baughman & Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Scott Houser, 2000. "How Well Can We Track Cohabitation Using the SIPP? A Consideration of Direct and Inferred Measures," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 30, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  • Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:30

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-679, June.
    2. 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.
    3. R. A. Moffitt & R. Reville & A. E. Winkler, "undated". "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.
    4. 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;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(2), pages 139-154, May.
    5. Lynne Casper & Philip Cohen, 2000. "How does POSSLQ measure up? Historical estimates of cohabitation," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(2), pages 237-245, May.
    6. 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 179-191, June.
    7. Feenberg, Daniel R. & Rosen, Harvey S., 1995. "Recent Developments in the Marriage Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(1), pages 91-101, March.
    8. Rebecca A London, 2000. "The interaction between single mothers' living arrangements and welfare participation," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 93-117.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pirog, Maureen & Gerrish, Ed, 2015. "Impact of the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act on child support order establishment," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 104-117.
    2. James Alm & Leslie Whittington, 2003. "Shacking Up or Shelling Out: Income Taxes, Marriage, and Cohabitation," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 169-186, September.
    3. Natasha Pilkauskas & Katherine Michelmore, 2017. "Does the Earned Income Tax Credit Reduce Housing Instability?," Working Papers wp18-01-ff, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure


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