Missing Data in Imputed Highest Grade Completed in the 2015–2018 NBER CPS Extracts

15 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2019

See all articles by Joni Hersch

Joni Hersch

Vanderbilt University - Law School; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Fernando Mendoza Lopez

Vanderbilt University, Law School, Law and Economics, Students

Jennifer Bennett Shinall

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: July 15, 2019

Abstract

In 2015, the Current Population Survey (CPS) eliminated three questions related to educational attainment. These questions are used by the NBER to calculate the variable, “Imputed Highest Grade Completed” (ihigrdc) in their Monthly Outgoing Rotation Group (MORG) extracts. Imputed Highest Grade Completed provides a convenient measure of years of education and is based on the credential oriented CPS variable that is coded from 31 to 46. Because the NBER continues to use coding that relies on these eliminated questions to calculate ihigrdc, this variable has a missing value for 27.5% of the observations in the 2015–2018 extracts. These missing values, in turn, lead to an average Imputed Highest Grade Completed of about 1.2 fewer years after 2014 than would result from using the whole CPS. We informed the NBER of this issue in January 2019; however, because this variable with missing values remain on their website for download as of this writing (July 15, 2019), we are posting this working paper to inform users of these data so that they may address the issue appropriately in their own work.

Keywords: Current Population Survey, education, Monthly Outgoing Rotation Group, National Bureau of Economic Research data, missing data, coding errors, NBER

JEL Classification: C18, C8, C810, J00, J01, I2

Suggested Citation

Hersch, Joni and Mendoza Lopez, Fernando and Shinall, Jennifer Bennett, Missing Data in Imputed Highest Grade Completed in the 2015–2018 NBER CPS Extracts (July 15, 2019). Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 19-22, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3420339 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3420339

Joni Hersch (Contact Author)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

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Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

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Fernando Mendoza Lopez

Vanderbilt University, Law School, Law and Economics, Students ( email )

Nashville, TN
United States

Jennifer Bennett Shinall

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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