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Attrition Bias in Economic Relationships Estimated with Matched CPS Files

  • David Neumark
  • Daiji Kawaguchi

Short panel data sets constructed by matching individuals across monthly files of the Current Population Survey (CPS) have been used to study a wide range of questions in labor economics. Such panels offer unique advantages. But because the CPS makes no effort to follow movers, these panels exhibit significant attrition, which may lead to bias in longitudinal estimates using matched CPS files. Because the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) uses essentially the same sampling frame and design as the CPS, but makes substantial efforts to follow individuals that move, we use the SIPP to construct 'data-based' rather than 'model-based' corrections for bias from selective attrition. The approach is applied to a couple of standard economic relationships that have been studied with the CPS specifically union wage differentials and the male marriage wage premium. The results for the longitudinal analysis of union wage effects reveal negligible and statistically insignificant evidence of attrition bias. In contrast, the longitudinal analysis of the marriage premium for males finds statistically significant evidence of attrition bias, although the amount of bias does not seem to be serious in an economic sense. We regard the evidence as suggesting that in many applications the advantages of using matched CPS panels to obtain longitudinal estimates are likely to far outweigh the disadvantages from attrition biases, although we should allow for the possibility that attrition bias leads the longitudinal estimates to be understated.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8663.

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Date of creation: Dec 2001
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Publication status: published as Neumark, David and Daiji Kawaguchi. "Attrition Bias In Labor Economics Research Using Matched CPS Files," Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, 2004, v29(4), 445-472.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8663
Note: LS
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  5. Daniel, K., 1991. "Does Marriage Make Men More Productive?," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-2, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  6. David Neumark & Sanders D. Korenman, 1988. "Does marriage really make men more productive?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Brigitte C. Madrian & Lars John Lefgren, 1999. "A Note on Longitudinally Matching Current Population Survey (CPS) Respondents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Freeman, Richard B, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
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  13. David Neumark & Mark Schweitzer & William Wascher, 2004. "The effects of minimum wages on the distribution of family incomes: a nonparametric analysis," Working Paper 0412, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  14. Thomas MaCurdy & Thomas Mroz & R. Mark Gritz, 1998. "An Evaluation of the National Longitudinal Survey on Youth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 345-436.
  15. Sean Becketti & William Gould & Lee Lillard & Finis Welch, 1985. "The Panel Study of Income Dynamics After Fourteen Years: An Evaluation," UCLA Economics Working Papers 361, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  18. Macpherson, David A & Hirsch, Barry T, 1995. "Wages and Gender Composition: Why Do Women's Jobs Pay Less?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 426-71, July.
  19. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1995. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on Teenage Employment and Enrollment: Evidence from Matched CPS Surveys," NBER Working Papers 5092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Evangelos M. Falaris & H. Elizabeth Peters, 1998. "Survey Attrition and Schooling Choices," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 531-554.
  21. Harriet Duleep & Mark Regets, 1997. "Measuring immigrant wage growth using matched CPS files," Demography, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 239-249, May.
  22. Chun, Hyunbae & Lee, Injae, 2001. "Why Do Married Men Earn More: Productivity or Marriage Selection?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 307-19, April.
  23. O'Connell, Philip J. & Russell, Helen & FitzGerald, John, 2006. "Human Resources," Book Chapters, in: Morgenroth, Edgar (ed.), Ex-Ante Evaluation of the Investment Priorities for the National Development Plan 2007-2013 Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
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