The Effect of Unfolding Brackets on the Quality of Wealth Data in HRS

49 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2008

See all articles by F. Thomas Juster

F. Thomas Juster

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Honggao Cao

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Michael Perry

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Mick P. Couper

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Date Written: January 2006

Abstract

A characteristic feature of survey data on household wealth is the high incidence of missing data roughly one in three respondents who report owning an asset are unable or unwilling to provide an estimate of the exact amount of their holding. A partial solution to that problem is to devise a series of questions that put the respondent's holdings into a quantitative range (less than x, more than x, or what?). These quantitative ranges are called unfolding brackets, and they represent a survey innovation that aims to improve the quality of wealth data by substituting range data for completely missing data. In this paper, we examine the effect of unfolding brackets on the quality of HRS wealth data. Special attention is given to the impact of unfolding bracket entry points on the distribution of asset holdings in HRS 1998. Although there is a small positive relationship between mean asset holdings and entry point, there are many cases where that relationship does not hold. In general, our conclusion is that entry point bias problems are not a major concern in the evaluation of quality in the 1998 HRS wealth data.

Suggested Citation

Juster, F. Thomas and Cao, Honggao and Perry, Michael and Couper, Mick P., The Effect of Unfolding Brackets on the Quality of Wealth Data in HRS (January 2006). Michigan Retirement Research Center Research Paper No. WP 2006-113, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1094805 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1094805

F. Thomas Juster (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Honggao Cao

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street

Michael Perry

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Mick P. Couper

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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