How Long is a Spell of Unemployment?: Illusions and Biases in the Use of CPS Data

36 Pages Posted: 26 May 2004 Last revised: 7 Jul 2010

See all articles by Nicholas M. Kiefer

Nicholas M. Kiefer

Cornell University

Shelly J. Lundberg

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Bergen - Department of Economics

Shelly J. Lundberg

affiliation not provided to SSRN

George R. Neumann

University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 1984

Abstract

Most data used to study the durations of unemployment spells come from the Current Population Survey, which is a point-in-time survey and gives an incomplete picture of the underlying duration distribution. We introduce a new sample of completed unemployment spells obtained from panel data and apply CPS sampling and reporting techniques to replicate the type of data used by other researchers. Predicted duration distributions derived from this CPS-like data are then compared to the actual distribution. We conclude that the best inferences that can be made about unemployment durations using CPS-like data are seriously biased.

Suggested Citation

Kiefer, Nicholas M. and Lundberg, Shelly J. and Lundberg, Shelly J. and Neumann, George R., How Long is a Spell of Unemployment?: Illusions and Biases in the Use of CPS Data (September 1984). NBER Working Paper No. w1467. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=334291

Nicholas M. Kiefer (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Building 350
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-6315 (Phone)
607-539-6366 (Fax)

Shelly J. Lundberg

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

University of Bergen - Department of Economics ( email )

Fosswinckelsgt. 6
N-5007 Bergen, 5007
Norway

Shelly J. Lundberg

affiliation not provided to SSRN

George R. Neumann

University of Iowa - Henry B. Tippie College of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

108 Pappajohn Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States
319-335-0850 (Phone)
319-356-1956 (Fax)

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