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The 2006 Earnings Public-Use Microdata File: An Introduction

Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71, No. 4, pp. 33-59, 2011

27 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2011 Last revised: 25 Apr 2015

Michael Compson

Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics

Date Written: November 1, 2011

Abstract

This article introduces the 2006 Earnings Public-Use File (EPUF) and provides important background information on the file's data fields. The EPUF contains selected demographic and earnings information for 4.3 million individuals drawn from a 1-percent sample of all Social Security numbers issued before January 2007. The data file provides aggregate earnings for 1937 to 1950 and annual earnings data for 1951 to 2006. The article focuses on four key items: (1) the Social Security Administration's experiences collecting earnings data over the years and their effect on the data fields included in EPUF; (2) the steps taken to "clean" the underlying administrative data and to minimize the risk of personal data disclosure; (3) the potential limitations of using EPUF data to estimate Social Security benefits for some individuals; and (4) frequency distributions and statistical tabulations of the data in the file, to provide a point of reference for EPUF users.

Keywords: Public-use earnings micro data, Social Security public-use data,Longitudinal earnings data, Social Security administrative earnings data, Social Security taxable earnings

JEL Classification: C000, C810, J000, H000, H550

Suggested Citation

Compson, Michael, The 2006 Earnings Public-Use Microdata File: An Introduction (November 1, 2011). Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71, No. 4, pp. 33-59, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1953428

Michael Compson (Contact Author)

Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

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