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Seam Bias, Multiple-State, Multiple-Spell Duration Models and the Employment Dynamics of Disadvantaged Women

  • John C. Ham
  • Xianghong Li
  • Lara Shore-Sheppard

Panel surveys generally suffer from "seam bias"--too few transitions observed within reference periods and too many reported between interviews. Seam bias is likely to affect duration models severely since both the start date and the end date of a spell may be misreported. In this paper we examine the employment dynamics of disadvantaged single mothers in the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) while correcting for seam bias in reported employment status. We develop parametric misreporting models for use in multi-state, multi-spell duration analysis; the models are identified if misreporting parameters are the same for fresh and left-censored spells of the same type. We extend these models to allow misreporting to depend on individual characteristics and for a certain fraction of the sample never to misreport. These extensions are informative about misreporting, but do not affect estimates of the hazard functions. We compare our results to two approaches used previously: i) using only data on the last month of reference periods and ii) adding a dummy variable for the last month of the reference periods. We find that there are important differences between our estimates and those obtained from ii), and very important differences between our estimates and those obtained from i). Finally, we also consider three alternative models of misreporting and are able to reject them based on aggregates of our micro data.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15151.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15151
Note: CH LS TWP
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  1. Janet Currie & Bruce C. Fallick, 1996. "The Minimum Wage and the Employment of Youth Evidence from the NLSY," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 404-428.
  2. John C. Ham & Lara D. Shore-Sheppard, 2005. "Did expanding Medicaid affect welfare participation?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 452-470, April.
  3. Sarah Hamersma, 2011. "Why Don'T Eligible Firms Claim Hiring Subsidies? The Role Of Job Duration," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(3), pages 916-934, 07.
  4. Charles J. Romeo, 2001. "Controlling for Seam Problems in Duration Model Estimates: With Application to the Current Population Survey and the Computer Aided Telephone Interview/Computer Aided Personal Interview Overlap Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(3), pages 467-499.
  5. McCall, Brian P., 1996. "The Identifiability of the Mixed Proportional Hazards Model with Time-Varying Coefficients," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(04), pages 733-738, October.
  6. Heckman, James J. & Singer, Burton, 1984. "Econometric duration analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 63-132.
  7. Curtis Eberwein & John C. Ham & Robert J. Lalonde, 1997. "The Impact of Being Offered and Receiving Classroom Training on the Employment Histories of Disadvantaged Women: Evidence from Experimental Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 655-682.
  8. Fitzgerald John M, 2004. "Measuring the Impact of Welfare Benefits on Welfare Durations: State Stratified Partial Likelihood and Fixed Effect Approaches," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-20, February.
  9. John C. Ham & Lara D. Shore-Sheppard, 2005. "Did Expanding Medicaid Affect Welfare Participation?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 452-470, April.
  10. Michael W. Elsby & Ryan Michaels & Gary Solon, 2007. "The Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 12853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Baker, Michael & Melino, Angelo, 2000. "Duration dependence and nonparametric heterogeneity: A Monte Carlo study," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 357-393, June.
  12. Black, Dan & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2003. "Measurement of Higher Education in the Census and Current Population Survey," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 98, pages 545-554, January.
  13. Goudreau, Karen & Oberheu, Howard & Vaughan, Denton, 1984. "An Assessment of the Quality of Survey Reports of Income from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) Program," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(2), pages 179-86, April.
  14. Chris Elbers & Geert Ridder, 1982. "True and Spurious Duration Dependence: The Identifiability of the Proportional Hazard Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 403-409.
  15. Ham, John C & LaLonde, Robert J, 1996. "The Effect of Sample Selection and Initial Conditions in Duration Models: Evidence from Experimental Data on Training," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 175-205, January.
  16. David C. Ribar, 2005. "Transitions from Welfare and the Employment Prospects of Low-Skill Workers," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 514-533, January.
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