Journal of Economic and Social Measurement - Volume 40, issue 1-4
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ISSN 0747-9662 (P)
ISSN 1875-8932 (E)
The Journal of Economic and Social Measurement (JESM) is a quarterly journal that is concerned with the investigation of all aspects of production, distribution and use of economic and other societal statistical data, and with the use of computers in that context. JESM publishes articles that consider the statistical methodology of economic and social science measurements. It is concerned with the methods and problems of data distribution, including the design and implementation of data base systems and, more generally, computer software and hardware for distributing and accessing statistical data files. Its focus on computer software also includes the valuation of algorithms and their implementation, assessing the degree to which particular algorithms may yield more or less accurate computed results. It addresses the technical and even legal problems of the collection and use of data, legislation and administrative actions affecting government produced or distributed data files, and similar topics.
The journal serves as a forum for the exchange of information and views between data producers and users. In addition, it considers the various uses to which statistical data may be put, particularly to the degree that these uses illustrate or affect the properties of the data. The data considered in JESM are usually economic or social, as mentioned, but this is not a requirement; the editorial policies of JESM do not place a priori restrictions upon the data that might be considered within individual articles. Furthermore, there are no limitations concerning the source of the data.
Abstract: We introduce this special issue on the critical matter of whether the existing household panel surveys in the U.S. are adequate to address the important emerging social science and policy questions of the next few decades. We summarize the conference papers which address this issue in different domains. The papers detail many new and important emerging research questions but also identify key limitations in existing panels in addressing those questions. To address these limitations, we consider the advantages and disadvantages of initiating a new, general-purpose omnibus household panel in the U.S. We also discuss the particular benefits of starting new…panels that have specific targeted domains such as child development, population health and health care. We also develop a list of valuable enhancements to existing panels which could address many of their limitations.
Keywords: Survey, economics, sociology, health research
Abstract: This paper assesses the data infrastructure needed for future research and policy evaluation on income, program participation, poverty, and financial vulnerability in the United States. I present a broad-based discussion of research needs on the long-term consequences of income inequality and mobility, transfer-program participation and intergenerational dependence, poverty measurement and poverty persistence, and material deprivation. I summarize what information we currently collect in U.S. household panels, highlighting specific challenges such as earnings nonresponse and transfer-income underreporting. I conclude that a first priority is to improve the quality, scale, and scope of currently fielded surveys, including linked survey-administrative data, before embarking…on a new longitudinal panel to address research on inequality, poverty, and material well being.
Keywords: Income inequality, intergenerational mobility, material hardship, panel data, nonresponse, top-code
Abstract: This paper reviews the most important scientific and policy research in the area of human capital, education achievement and learning and discusses the need for a new nationally representative household panel for the United States to provide the research resources necessary to keep the United States at the forefront of scientific and policy research in this area. Excellent panel data incorporating recent advances in panel design and innovative measures are required for addressing the most important policy issues.
Keywords: Human capital, skills, tasks, panel data
Abstract: Many of the key issues confronting modern societies are closely tied to labor market outcomes: What factors contribute to the persistence of poverty and deprivation? Why does long-term unemployment damage re-entry prospects into labor markets? Along which dimensions is economic inequality increasing, and to what extent should we be concerned about these trends? To what degree is inequality transmitted within families across generations? Why does race play such an important role in economic success in the U.S.? How are male-female differences in economic outcomes shifting over time? In this essay we suggest that a well-designed survey that follows individuals within…households over a long horizon is crucial for sorting some facets of these questions. We provide some thoughts about how a future household survey should be designed for the purpose facilitating high-value research in empirical labor economics.
Abstract: In this essay I summarize what I see as the most important academic and policy issues related to the study of consumption behavior in the US (and elsewhere). I discuss the type of data researchers working on these topics have available, the problems they encounter, and how the ``big data revolution'' is rapidly changing access and availability of data on household spending. Finally, I discuss the arguments in favor and against starting a new national panel survey collecting consumption-related information as opposed to enhancing or improving the existing surveys.
Abstract: Several U.S. panel surveys measure household wealth. At the same time, our understanding of many important aspects of household wealth accumulation remains incomplete. We argue that measurement error is one factor that limits the usefulness of the existing longitudinal surveys for research on wealth and savings. We review the features of wealth data that make it difficult to collect and assess which assets and debts households are more likely to report accurately. An examination of data from the Survey of Consumer Finances suggests that households find it particularly difficult to report the values of their pensions and businesses. We suggest…several considerations in choosing between improving existing surveys and starting a new one.
Abstract: This paper considers whether the U.S. needs a new national survey to measure time use. The paper begins by discussing the ways that time use is measured within the U.S; as a part of that discussion, the pros and cons of the different methods are highlighted. Next, the paper highlights why time use data is essential to addressing many questions in social sciences. The paper then turns to outlining the current gaps in our measurement of household time use. Finally, the paper discusses whether a new national dataset is needed to address these gaps. The paper concludes that a…new national survey is not needed to fill the gaps - however, some guidance is provided as to how existing surveys can be modified to improve time use measurement.
Abstract: The American family has undergone rapid transformation. Careful measurement attention to family formation is important because families are at the heart of numerous decisions, roles, and responsibilities with implications for understanding the well-being of families, adults and children. This paper considers whether there is a need for a new household panel study that addresses family formation. This paper consists of a review of the recent body of population-based, American surveys and finds a considerable gap in the ability to study the implications of families for the health and well-being of Americans. Earlier panel surveys used to assess family life anchored…questions around marital events, but changes in family patterns require attention to a more diverse set of family forms. The paper concludes with recommendations for a multi-purpose panel study. The key challenge is to keep to pace with complexity and changes in American family life while at the same time maintaining a parsimonious set of survey questions.
Keywords: Family, household, measurement, panel data
Abstract: This paper examines the extent to which a new nationally representative household panel survey could bring children and adolescents to the forefront of its design. We begin by discussing how major demographic shifts, such as reduced social mobility and transformations in family structure, may affect children and adolescent development through individual, family, and sociocultural processes. We then review the existing household surveys in the United States and highlight the strengths and weaknesses for studying how major societal trends and changes affect child and adolescent development. We then debate several different design approaches for a new study and recommend either a…longitudinal panel design, which includes all children in the panel survey, or a sequential cohort design, that includes a subsample of children and embedded birth cohort study. We highlight that a large, nationally representative dataset cannot replace standalone, more in-depth developmental studies of children and adolescents with high-fidelity measurement of processes. Instead, we argue that a new panel survey could take a more targeted approach and measure the major constructs of children's development as well as select family and sociocultural processes by drawing on recent advances in survey measurement techniques. We conclude by affirming that new household survey has the potential to contribute greatly to our understanding of the developmental origins of life long wellbeing as well as the effects of major demographic shifts in the 21st century on child and adolescent development.
Keywords: Child and adolescent development, measurement, household surveys, birth cohort and longitudinal studies
Abstract: I argue that the United States needs new survey data on intergenerational relationships in light of the dramatic demographic changes in parent-child and couple relationships that were not anticipated when many major family datasets were designed. Increases in nonmarital childbearing, the instability of parents' relationships and high rates of repartnering challenge conventional approaches to data collection on families. Large race-ethnic and socioeconomic differences in the extent of these changes and their impact on intergenerational support may contribute to growing inequality. A new study must collect data on both household relationships and relationships among family members who live apart because most…U.S. parents and adult offspring do not co-reside. The survey should obtain information on the timing of family transitions and include multiple cohorts to take account of differences in societal conditions that influence family experiences. A longitudinal design would show how parent-child relationships unfold over time and build on past histories. The paper identifies the dimensions of intergenerational ties that should be measured and explains why existing data cannot address the need for a new study.
Keywords: Family support, inequality, intergenerational relationships, kin networks, life course, safety net, transfers