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Small sample bias in synthetic cohort models of labor supply

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  • Paul J. Devereux

Abstract

In synthetic cohort models (cross-sectional data grouped at the cohort and year level), researchers often ignore potential biases induced by sampling error because they have 100 or 200 observations per group. I investigate small sample biases in the context of two synthetic cohort labor supply applications - a model of intertemporal labor supply of men (similar to that of Browning, Deaton, and Irish, 1985) and a female labor supply model (similar to that of Blundell, Duncan, and Meghir, 1998). My approach is to use the Current Population Survey to compare the estimates when group sizes are extremely large to those that arise from randomly drawing subsamples of observations from the large groups. This provides a natural framework for examining the extent of small sample biases and the group sizes required so that small sample biases are negligible. I augment this approach with Monte Carlo analysis so as to precisely quantify biases and coverage rates. I find that, in these two applications, thousands of observations per group are required before small sample issues can be ignored in estimation. In these applications, sampling error leads one to underestimate intertemporal labor supply elasticities for men, and conclude that the income response of female labor supply is zero or tiny when in fact it is quite large.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul J. Devereux, 2006. "Small sample bias in synthetic cohort models of labor supply," Working Papers 200606, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200606
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/747
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Klaus S. Friesenbichler, 2014. "EU Accession, Domestic Market Competition and Total Factor Productivity. Firm Level Evidence," WIFO Working Papers 492, WIFO.
    2. René Morissette & Ping Ching Winnie Chan & Yuqian Lu, 2015. "Wages, Youth Employment, and School Enrollment: Recent Evidence from Increases in World Oil Prices," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, pages 222-253.
    3. Xavier d'Haultfoeuille & Stefan Hoderlein & Yuya Sasaki, 2013. "Nonlinear difference-in-differences in repeated cross sections with continuous treatments," CeMMAP working papers CWP40/13, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. repec:eee:joecag:v:9:y:2017:i:c:p:185-207 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:nov:artigo:v:27:y:2017:i:1:p:35-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Warunsiri, Sasiwimon & McNown, Robert, 2010. "The Returns to Education in Thailand: A Pseudo-Panel Approach," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 1616-1625, November.
    7. Bauer,Jan Michael & Levin,Victoria & Munoz Boudet,Ana Maria & Nie,Peng & Sousa-Poza,Alfonso, 2015. "Subjective well-being across the lifespan in Europe and Central Asia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7378, The World Bank.
    8. Benoit Dostie, 2012. "Labour Supply and Taxes: New Estimates of the Responses of Wives to Husbands’ Wages," Cahiers de recherche 12-02, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
    9. Gómez Soler, Silvia C., 2016. "Educational achievement at schools: Assessing the effect of the civil conflict using a pseudo-panel of schools," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 91-106.
    10. Dang,Hai-Anh H. & Lanjouw,Peter F., 2013. "Measuring poverty dynamics with synthetic panels based on cross-sections," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6504, The World Bank.
    11. Paul J. Devereux, 2007. "Small-sample bias in synthetic cohort models of labor supply," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4), pages 839-848.
    12. Paul J. Devereux, 2007. "Small-sample bias in synthetic cohort models of labor supply," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., pages 839-848.
    13. Richard Duhautois & Fabrice Gilles, 2013. "Payroll tax reductions and job flows in France," Working Papers hal-01006652, HAL.
    14. Devereux, Paul J., 2007. "Improved Errors-in-Variables Estimators for Grouped Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 278-287, July.
    15. Chan, Winnie & Lu, Yuqian & Morissette, Rene, 2014. "Wages, Youth Employment, and School Enrollment: Recent Evidence from Increases in World Oil Prices," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2014353e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    16. D. Lederman & W.F. Maloney & J. Messina, 2011. "The Fall of Wage Flexibility," World Bank Other Operational Studies 23575, The World Bank.
    17. Hou, Feng & Lu, Yuqian & Morissette, René, 2009. "Marriage, Cohabitation and Women’s Response to Changes in the Male Wage Structure," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2009-45, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 30 Aug 2009.
    18. Devereux, Paul J., 2007. "Improved Errors-in-Variables Estimators for Grouped Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, pages 278-287.
    19. Lederman, Daniel & Rojas, Diego, 2014. "Export shocks and the volatility of returns to schooling : evidence from twelve Latin American economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7144, The World Bank.
    20. Daniel A. Ackerberg & Paul J. Devereux, 2009. "Improved JIVE Estimators for Overidentified Linear Models with and without Heteroskedasticity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 351-362.
    21. Feng Hou, 2014. "Keep Up with the Joneses or Keep on as Their Neighbours: Life Satisfaction and Income in Canadian Urban Neighbourhoods," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, pages 1085-1107.

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