A Note on Longitudinally Matching Current Population Survey (CPS) Respondents

Brigitte C. Madrian, Lars John Lefgren

NBER Technical Working Paper No. 247
Issued in November 1999
NBER Program(s):   TWP

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 .

download in pdf format
   (308 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/t0247

Published: Madrian, Brigitte C. and Lars John Lefgren. "An Approach To Longitudinally Matching Population Survey (CPS) Respondents," Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, 2000, v26(1), 31-62.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Gruber and Madrian w8817 Health Insurance, Labor Supply, and Job Mobility: A Critical Review of the Literature
Kelly The Creation of Longitudinal Data from Cross-Section Surveys: An Illustration from the Current Population Survey
Goodman and Sharpe w0247 Perspective on Bank Capital Adequacy: Time-Series Analysis
Neumark and Wascher w5092 The Effects of Minimum Wages on Teenage Employment and Enrollment: Evidence from Matched CPS Surveys
Burkhauser, Feng, Jenkins, and Larrimore w14247 Estimating Trends in US Income Inequality Using the Current Population Survey: The Importance of Controlling for Censoring
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us