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Measurement Error In Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Labor Market Surveys: Results From Two Validation Studies

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  • John Bound
  • Charles Brown
  • Greg J. Duncan
  • Willard L. Rodgers

Abstract

This paper reports evidence on the error properties of survey reports of labor market variables such as earnings and work hours. Our primary data source is the PSID Validation Study, a two-wave panel survey of a sample of workers employed by a large firm which also allowed us access to its very detailed records of its workers earnings. etc. The second data source uses individuals' 1977 and 1978 (March Current Population Survey) reports of earnings, matched to Social Security earnings records. In both data sets, individuals: reports of earnings are fairly accurately reported, and the errors are negatively related to true earnings. The latter property reduces the bias due to measurement error when earnings are used as an independent variable, but (unlike the classical-error case) leads to some bias when earnings are the dependent variable. Measurement-error-induced biases when change in earnings is the variable of interest are larger, but not dramatically so. Various measures of hourly earnings were much less reliable than annual earnings. Retrospective reports of unemployment showed considerable under-reporting, even of long spells.

Suggested Citation

  • John Bound & Charles Brown & Greg J. Duncan & Willard L. Rodgers, 1989. "Measurement Error In Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Labor Market Surveys: Results From Two Validation Studies," NBER Working Papers 2884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2884
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    1. Mathiowetz, Nancy A & Duncan, Greg J, 1988. "Out of Work, Out of Mind: Response Errors in Retrospective Reports of Unemployment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 6(2), pages 221-229, April.
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    4. Mellow, Wesley & Sider, Hal, 1983. "Accuracy of Response in Labor Market Surveys: Evidence and Implications," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 331-344, October.
    5. Duncan, Greg J & Hill, Daniel H, 1985. "An Investigation of the Extent and Consequences of Measurement Error in Labor-Economic Survey Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 508-532, October.
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    7. repec:fth:prinin:240 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Atallah, Gamal, 1998. "Les impôts sur le revenu et l’offre de travail des femmes mariées : une revue de la littérature," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 74(1), pages 95-128, mars.
    2. Richard D. Barwell & Mark E. Schweitzer, 2005. "The incidence of nominal and real wage rigidities in Great Britain: 1978–1998," Working Paper 0508, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    3. Brownstone, David & Valletta, Robert G, 1996. "Modeling Earnings Measurement Error: A Multiple Imputation Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 705-717, November.
    4. Yingyao Hu & Geert Ridder, 2012. "Estimation of nonlinear models with mismeasured regressors using marginal information," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 347-385, April.
    5. Robert Haveman & Lawrence Buron, 1994. "The Anatomy of Changing Male Earnings Inequality: An Empirical Exploration of Determinants," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_104, Levy Economics Institute.
    6. de Nicola, Francesca & Giné, Xavier, 2014. "How accurate are recall data? Evidence from coastal India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 52-65.
    7. Kniesner, T.J. & Kimmel, J., 1993. "The Intertemporal-Substitution Hypothesis is Alive and Well ( But Hiding in the Data)," Papers 93-014, Indiana - Center for Econometric Model Research.
    8. Orietta Dessy, 2002. "Nominal wage rigidity in the European Countries: evidence from the Europanel," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 D2-1, International Conferences on Panel Data.
    9. Frank A Cowell & Christian Schluter, 1998. "Measuring Income Mobility with Dirty Data (published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, 22(3), May 1999)," CASE Papers case16, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    10. H. Bunzel & Bent Jesper Christensen & Peter Jensen & Nicholas Kiefer & L. Korsholm & L. Muus & G. R. Neumann & Michael Rosholm, 2001. "Specification and Estimation of Equilibrium Search Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(1), pages 90-126, January.
    11. Alena Bièáková & Jiøí Slaèálek & Michal Slavík, 2011. "Labor Supply after Transition: Evidence from the Czech Republic," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 61(4), pages 327-347, August.
    12. Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1995. "Individual Income, Incomplete Information, and Aggregate Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 805-840, July.
    13. Randolph, William C. & Rogers, Diane Lim, 1995. "The Implications for Tax Policy of Uncertainty About Labor-Supply and Savings Responses," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(3), pages 429-46, September.
    14. Smith, Jennifer C., 2002. "Pay Cuts And Morale : A Test Of Downward Nominal Rigidity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 649, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    15. David Card, 1990. "Intertemporal Labor Supply: An Assessment," Working Papers 649, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    16. De Nardi, Mariacristina & Yang, Fang, 2014. "Bequests and heterogeneity in retirement wealth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 182-196.
    17. Xiaohong Chen & Yingyao Hu, 2006. "Identification and Inference of Nonlinear Models Using Two Samples with Arbitrary Measurement Errors," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1590, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    18. Fang Yang, 2012. "Lifetime Earning and Heterogeneity in Retirement Wealth: the Role of Bequests, Minimum Consumption, and Social Security," Discussion Papers 12-03, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    19. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Wage Dispersion Between and Within U.S. Manufacturing Plants, 1963-1986," NBER Working Papers 3722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Niels Westergård-Nielsen, 1989. "The Use of Register Data in Economic Analysis," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 125(III), pages 391-403, September.
    21. Cowell, Frank & Schluter, Christian, 1998. "Income mobility : a robust approach," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2210, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    22. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1993. "Unemployment Benefits, Labor Market Transitions, and Spurious Flows: A Multinational Logit Model with Errors in Classification," NBER Working Papers 4434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Geert Ridder & Yingyao Hu, 2004. "Estimation of Nonlinear Models with Measurement Error Using Marginal Information," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 21, Econometric Society.
    24. Frank A Cowell & Christian Schluter, 1998. "Income Mobility: A Robust Approach (published in Income Inequality Measurement: From Theory to Practice, J Silber (ed, Dewenter: Kluver , 1999)," STICERD - Distributional Analysis Research Programme Papers 37, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.

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