A Note on Longitudinally Matching Current Population Survey (CPS) Respondents
47 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2000 Last revised: 6 Sep 2010
Date Written: November 1999
In this paper, we propose an approach for evaluating the trade-offs inherent in different approaches used to match Current Population Survey (CPS) respondents across various CPS surveys. Because there is some measurement error in both the variables used to identify individuals over time and in the characteristics of individuals at any point in time, any procedure used to match CPS respondents has the possibility of both generating incorrect matches and failing to generate potentially valid matches. We propose using the information contained in the variable on whether an individual lived in the same house on March 1 of the previous year as a way to gauge these trade-offs. We find that as measured by reported residence one year ago, increasing the fraction of 'invalid' merges that are rejected usually comes at a cost of decreasing the fraction of 'valid' merges that are retained. However, there are clearly some approaches that are superior to others in the sense that they result in both a higher fraction of 'invalid' merges being rejected and a higher fraction of 'valid' merges being retained.
The programs to implement CPS matching across years in this paper are available .
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