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Bias from Classical and Other Forms of Measurement Error

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  • Dean R. Hyslop
  • Guido W. Imbens

Abstract

We consider the implications of a specific alternative to the classical measurement error model, in which the data are optimal predictions based on some information set. One motivation for this model is that if respondents are aware of their ignorance they may interpret the question what is the value of this variable?' as what is your best estimate of this variable?', and provide optimal predictions of the variable of interest given their information set. In contrast to the classical measurement error model, this model implies that the measurement error is uncorrelated with the reported value and, by necessity, correlated with the true value of the variable. In the context of the linear regression framework, we show that measurement error can lead to over- as well as under-estimation of the coefficients of interest. Critical for determining the bias is the model for the individual reporting the mismeasured variables, the individual's information set, and the correlation structure of the errors. We also investigate the implications of instrumental variables methods in the presence of measurement error of the optimal prediction error form and show that such methods may in fact introduce bias. Finally, we present some calculations indicating that the range of estimates of the returns to education consistent with amounts of measurement error found in previous studies. This range can be quite wide, especially if one allows for correlation between the measurement errors.

Suggested Citation

  • Dean R. Hyslop & Guido W. Imbens, 2000. "Bias from Classical and Other Forms of Measurement Error," NBER Technical Working Papers 0257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberte:0257
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366 Elsevier.
    2. Bound, John & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "The Extent of Measurement Error in Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, January.
    3. Horowitz, Joel L & Manski, Charles F, 1995. "Identification and Robustness with Contaminated and Corrupted Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(2), pages 281-302, March.
    4. Klepper, Steven & Leamer, Edward E, 1984. "Consistent Sets of Estimates for Regressions with Errors in All Variables," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 163-183, January.
    5. David Card & Dean Hyslop, 1997. "Does Inflation "Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market"?," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 71-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "News or Noise? An Analysis of GNP Revisions," NBER Working Papers 1939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General

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