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Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings

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  • Steven Haider
  • Gary Solon

Abstract

Researchers in a variety of important economic literatures have assumed that current income variables as proxies for lifetime income variables follow the textbook errors-in-variables model. In an analysis of Social Security records containing nearly career-long earnings histories for the Health and Retirement Study sample, we find that the relationship between current and lifetime earnings departs substantially from the textbook model in ways that vary systematically over the life cycle. Our results can enable more appropriate analysis of and correction for errors-in-variables bias in a wide range of research that uses current earnings to proxy for lifetime earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," NBER Working Papers 11943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11943
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lindquist, Matthew J. & Böhlmark, Anders, 2005. "Life-Cycle Variations in the Association between Current and Lifetime Income: Country, Cohort and Gender Comparisons," Working Paper Series 4/2005, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
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    3. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
    4. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2005. "Fortunate Sons: New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States Using Social Security Earnings Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 235-255, May.
    5. 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.
    6. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia Elena Rouse & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Estimating Returns to Schooling When Schooling is Misreported," NBER Working Papers 7235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Lillard, Lee A, 1977. "Inequality: Earnings vs. Human Wealth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 42-53, March.
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    12. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2001. "The mis-measurement of permanent earnings: new evidence from Social Security earnings data," Working Paper Series WP-01-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    13. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
    14. Bonggeun Kim & Gary Solon, 2005. "Implications of Mean-Reverting Measurement Error for Longitudinal Studies of Wages and Employment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 193-196, February.
    15. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia Rouse & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Estimating Returns to Schooling When Schooling is Misreported," Working Papers 798, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    16. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-445, March.
    17. Haider, S. & Solon, G., 2000. "Nonrandom Selection in the HRS Social Security Earnings Sample," Papers 00-01, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    18. Haider, S. & Solon, G., 2000. "Nonrandom Selection in the HRS Social Security Earnings Sample," Papers 00-01, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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