Adjusting Body Mass for Measurement Error with Invalid Validation Data

57 Pages Posted: 31 May 2014

See all articles by Charles Courtemanche

Charles Courtemanche

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Joshua C. Pinkston

University of Louisville

Jay Stewart

Bureau of Labor Statistics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 1, 2013

Abstract

We propose a new method for using validation data to correct self-reported weight and height in surveys that do not weigh and measure respondents. The standard correction from prior research regresses actual measures on reported values using an external validation dataset, and then uses the estimated coefficients to predict actual measures in the primary dataset. This approach requires the strong assumption that the expectations of actual weight and height conditional on the reported values are the same in both datasets. In contrast, we use percentile ranks rather than levels of reported weight and height. Our approach requires the much weaker assumption that the conditional expectations of actual measures are increasing in reported values in both samples, making our correction more robust to differences in measurement error across surveys. We then examine three nationally representative datasets and confirm that misreporting is sensitive to differences in survey context such as data collection mode. When we compare predicted BMI distributions using the two approaches, we find that the standard correction is biased by differences in misreporting while our correction is not. Finally, we present several examples that demonstrate the potential importance of our correction for future econometric analyses and estimates of obesity rates.

Suggested Citation

Courtemanche, Charles and Pinkston, Joshua C. and Stewart, Jay, Adjusting Body Mass for Measurement Error with Invalid Validation Data (February 1, 2013). Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper Series No. 14-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2443499 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2443499

Charles Courtemanche (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States
404-413-0082 (Phone)

Joshua C. Pinkston

University of Louisville ( email )

Jay Stewart

Bureau of Labor Statistics ( email )

2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20212
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
6
Abstract Views
210
PlumX Metrics