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The Role of CPS Nonresponse in the Measurement of Poverty

Papers in Refereed Journals
Charles Hokayem, Christopher Bollinger & James P. Ziliak
The Role of CPS Nonresponse in the Measurement of Poverty, Journal of the American Statistical Association, 110:511, 935-945, DOI: 10.1080/01621459.2015.1029576
Publication year: 2015

The Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) serves as the data source for official income, poverty, and inequality statistics in the United States. There is a concern that the rise in nonresponse to earnings questions could deteriorate data quality and distort estimates of these important metrics. We use a dataset of internal ASEC records matched to Social Security Detailed Earnings Records (DER) to study the impact of earnings nonresponse on estimates of poverty from 1997–2008. Our analysis does not treat the administrative data as the “truth”; instead, we rely on information from both administrative and survey data. We compare a “full response” poverty rate that assumes all ASEC respondents provided earnings data to the official poverty rate to gauge the nonresponse bias. On average, we find the nonresponse bias is about 1.0 percentage point.

Revenue Forecast for Lexington Fayette Urban County Government

Reports
Christopher Bollinger
LFUCG Budget Office, March 2015.
Publication year: 2015

Economic Impact of Keeneland: Fall meet and Fall Sales

Reports
Christopher Bollinger
Publication year: 2015

Revenue Forecast for Lexington Fayette Urban County Government

Reports
Christopher Bollinger
LFUCG Budget Office
Publication year: 2014

On the Robustness of Coefficient Estimates to the Inclusion of Proxy Variables

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger, Jenny Minier
Journal of Econometric Methods, Volume 4, Issue 1, March 2014, Pp 101-122.
Publication year: 2014

This paper considers the use of multiple proxy measures for an unobserved variable and contrasts the approach taken in the measurement error literature to that of the model specification literature. We find that including all available proxy variables in the regression minimizes the bias on coefficients of correctly measured variables in the regression. We derive a set of bounds for all parameters in the model, and compare these results to extreme bounds analysis. Monte Carlo simulations demonstrate the performance of our bounds relative to extreme bounds. We conclude with an empirical example from the cross-country growth literature in which human capital is measured through three proxy variables: literacy rates, and enrollment in primary and secondary school, and show that our approach yields results that contrast sharply with extreme bounds analysis.

Revenue Forecast for Lexington Fayette Urban County Government

Reports
Christopher Bollinger
LFUCG Budget Office, March 2013
Publication year: 2013

Is Earnings Response Ignorable?

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger, Barry Hirsch
Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. 95, no. 2, May 2013, pp. 407-416
Publication year: 2013

Earnings nonresponse in the Current Population Survey is roughly 30% in the monthly surveys and 20% in the March survey. If nonresponse is ignorable, unbiased estimates can be achieved by omitting nonrespondents. Little is known about whether CPS nonresponse is ignorable. Using sample frame measures to identify selection, we find clear-cut evidence among men but limited evidence among women for negative selection into response. Wage equation slope coefficients are affected little by selection, but because of intercept shifts, wages for men and, to a lesser extent, women are understated, as are gender gaps. Selection is least severe among household heads.

Evaluation of Job Training Assistance for Recently Released Prisoners

Reports
Christopher Bollinger and Aaron Yelowitz
Updated Funding Predictions for County Attorney’s Offices” Department for Income Support, Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Publication year: 2013

Revenue Forecast for Lexington Fayette Urban County Government

Reports
Christopher Bollinger
LFUCG Budget Office, March 2012
Publication year: 2012

Industry and Labor Characteristics and Projections: The BEAM and WIA Regions

Reports
Christopher Bollinger and Ken Troske
BEAM Consortium, December 2012
Publication year: 2012

Export Strength and Opportunities for Kentucky Industries

Reports
Christopher Bollinger and Derrick Jenniges
Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, December 2012
Publication year: 2012

Binary Misclassification and Identification in Regression Models

Papers in Refereed Journals
Martijn von Hasselt and Christopher R. Bollinger
Economics Letters, vol. 115, January 2012, pp. 81-84
Publication year: 2012

We study a regression model with a binary explanatory variable that is subject to misclassification errors. The regression coefficient is then only partially identified. We derive several results that relate different assumptions about the misclassification probabilities and the conditional variances to the size of the identified set.

The Poverty Reduction Success of Public Transfers For Working Age Immigrants and Refugees In the United States

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger, Paul Hagstrom
Contemporary Economic Policy, April, 2011, Vol 29. no.2, pp. 191-206
Publication year: 2011
Although there has been some research on the impacts of federal tax and transfer policies on poverty rates for immigrants, virtually no previous work investigates the most disadvantaged group of immigrants: refugees. We estimate probit models for three standard measures of poverty. We find that while immigrants and refugees in particular had much higher poverty rates in the early 1990s, the strong economic growth of the 1990s led to a convergence of those poverty rates by 2000. Our analysis demonstrates that the improvement was largely because of economic conditions and that welfare reform policies appear to have little differential impact on immigrants or refugees. We also find that refugees show a markedly greater response to local labor market
conditions than other immigrants or native born.

Earnings Volatility in America: Evidence from Matched CPS

Papers in Refereed Journals
James P. Ziliak, Bradley Hardy, Christopher Bollinger
Labour Economics, 2011, vol. 18, pp.742-754
Publication year: 2011

We offer new evidence on earnings volatility of men and women in the United States over the past four decades by using matched data from the March Current Population Survey. We construct a measure of total volatility that encompasses both permanent and transitory instability, and that admits employment transitions and losses from self-employment. We also present a detailed decomposition of earnings volatility to account for changing shares in employment probabilities, conditional variances of continuous workers, and conditional mean variances from employment entry and exit. Our results show that earnings volatility among men increased by 15% from the early 1970s to mid-1980s, while women’s volatility fell, and each stabilized thereafter. However, this pooled series masks important heterogeneity in volatility levels and trends across education groups and marital status. We find that men’s earnings volatility is increasingly accounted for by employment transitions, especially exits, while the share of women’s volatility accounted for by continuous workers rose, each of which highlights the importance of allowing for periods of non-work in volatility studies.

Down From the Mountain: Skill Upgrading and Wages in Appalachia

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger, Ken Troske and James P. Ziliak
Journal of Labor Economics, vol. 29, no. 4, 2011, pp. 819-857
Publication year: 2011

The Appalachian region has experienced persistently higher poverty and lower earnings than the rest of the United States. We examine whether skill differentials or differences in the returns to those skills lie at the root of the Appalachian wage gap. Using census data, we decompose the Appalachian wage gap using both mean and full distribution methods. Our findings suggest that significant upgrading of skills within the region has prevented the gap from widening over the last 20 years. Additionally, we find that urban areas within Appalachia have not experienced the rise in returns to skills as in non-Appalachian urban areas.

Misclassification in Binary Variables

Book Chapters
Christopher Bollinger
The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Online Edition. Eds. Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010
Publication year: 2010

An efficient GMM estimator of spatial autoregressive models

Papers in Refereed Journals
Xiaodong Liu, Lung-fei Lee, and Christopher R. Bollinger
J. Econometrics, 2010, vol. 159, pp. 303-319
Publication year: 2010

In this paper, we consider GMM estimation of the regression and MRSAR models with SAR disturbances. We derive the best GMM estimator within the class of GMM estimators based on linear and quadratic moment conditions. The best GMM estimator has the merit of computational simplicity and asymptotic efficiency. It is asymptotically as efficient as the ML estimator under normality and asymptotically more efficient than the Gaussian QML estimator otherwise. Monte Carlo studies show that, with moderate-sized samples, the best GMM estimator has its biggest advantage when the disturbances are asymmetrically distributed. When the diagonal elements of the spatial weights matrix have enough variation, incorporating kurtosis of the disturbances in the moment functions will also be helpful.

Welfare Reform and the Level and Composition of Income

Book Chapters
Christopher Bollinger, Luis Gonzalez, and James P. Ziliak
Welfare Reform and its Long-Term Consequences for America’s Poor, James P. Ziliak, ed, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 59-103
Publication year: 2009

Chicks Don't Dig it: Gender, Attitude and Performance in Principles of Economics Classes

Book Chapters
Christopher Bollinger, Gail M. Hoyt and KimMarie McGoldrick
Expanding Teaching and Learning Horizons in Economic Education, Franklin G. Mixon, Jr. and Richard J. Cebula, eds, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2009, pp. 43-64.
Publication year: 2009

Women are less likely to major in economics than men. While this simple fact is well documented, the cause of this difference is still up for debate. Most previous research has focused on identifying causes through skill differences and pedagogical practices. Heretofore neglected is the role of students’ attitudes towards economics. This work establishes that women and men have no performance differences in principles of economics courses, but that attitudes differ significantly. Furthermore, the finding that women have a significantly more negative attitude towards economics prior to taking the principles course is compounded by the results that indicate a polarization of attitudes after taking the course. In other words, women have more negative attitudes and men have more positive attitudes towards economics after taking the course. Women can do economics, but are less inclined to like it.

Food Stamp Program Participation Among Immigrants and Refugees

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger, Paul Hagstrom
Southern Economic Journal, January, 2008, Vol. 74, no. 3, pp.665-692
Publication year: 2008

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) dramatically changed the availability of food stamps to immigrants, but not to refugees. However, refugee usage of food stamps in the post-reform era has declined more than usage of either other immigrants or native citizens. We investigate food stamp program participation of immigrants and refugees to ascertain if the resulting decline was an unintended effect of the reform or is due to some other phenomena. We use data from the Immigration and Naturalization Service to construct an instrument for refugees. We find that refugees are more likely than other immigrants to use food stamps. While PRWORA clearly reduced non-refugee immigrant food stamp participation, the post-reform era decline in refugee usage is fully attributable to a strong refugee response to changing labor market conditions. We also find that refugees’ use of food stamps declines rapidly with time in the United States, unlike that of other immigrants.

Updating the Unemployment Insurance Profiling Model in Kentucky

Reports
Christopher Bollinger and Ken Troske
Center for Business and Economic Research, U.S. Department of Labor, Kentucky Employment Cabinet., December 2007
Publication year: 2007

Match Bias in the Earnings Imputations in the Current Population Survey: The Case of Imperfect Matching

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger, Barry T. Hirsch
Journal of Labor Economics, July 2006, Vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 483-520
Publication year: 2006
This article examines match bias arising from earnings imputation. Wage equation parameters are estimated from mixed samples of workers reporting and not reporting earnings, the latter assigned earnings of donors. Regressions including attributes not used as imputation match criteria (e.g., union) are severely biased. Match bias also arises with attributes used as match criteria but matched imperfectly. Imperfect matching on schooling (age) flattens earnings profiles within education (age) groups and creates jumps across groups. Assuming conditional missing at random, a general analytic expression correcting match bias is derived and compared to alternatives. Reweighting respondent-only sample proves an attractive approach.

Iatrogenic Specification Error: A Cautionary Tale of Cleaning Data

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger, Amitabh Chandra
Journal of Labor Economics, April, 2005, Vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 235-257.
Publication year: 2005

It is common practice to use sensible rules of thumb for cleaning data. Measurement error is often the justification for removing (trimming) or recoding (winsorizing) observations where the dependent variable has values that lie outside a specified range. We consider a general measurement error process that nests many plausible models. Analytic results demonstrate that winsorizing and trimming are solutions for a narrow class of error processes. Indeed such procedures can induce or exacerbate bias. Monte Carlo simulations and empirical results demonstrate the fragility of cleaning. Even on root mean square error criteria, we cannot find generalizable justifications for
these procedures.

I Didn’t Tell and I Won’t Tell: Dynamic Response Error in the SIPP

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger, Martin H. David
Journal of Applied Econometrics, May/June 2005, Vol 20. issue 4, pp. 563-569
Publication year: 2005

Using state administrative records matched to the 1984 Survey of Income and Program Participation, we examine intertemporal relationships in response errors. False negative errors in reporting food stamps are highly correlated across interviews for the same household. Hypotheses that the error process can be explained by learning behaviour are not supported. Bivariate probit of response error in two periods reveals that responses to covariates are stable over time and the latent error terms are positively correlated. These findings support the hypothesis that respondents have a latent tendency to cooperate (or not cooperate) with surveys.

The Upside Potential of Hiring Risky Workers: Evidence from the Baseball Industry

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger, Julie Hotchkiss
Journal of Labor Economics, October, 2003, Vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 923-944.
Publication year: 2003

Making use of performance data for baseball players, this article provides empirical evidence in support of Lazear’s (1998) theoretical predictions that (1) risky workers will earn a premium for their upside potential, (2) this risk premium will be higher the longer a worker’s work life, and (3) firms must enjoy some comparative advantage in the labor market to be willing to pay a premium to risky workers. The validity of Lazear’s predictions carries implications for wage differentials between young and old workers and between men and women.

The Intraurban Spatial Distribution of Employment: Which Government Interventions Make a Difference?

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger, Keith Ihlanfeldt
Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 53, no 3, May 2003, pp. 396-412.
Publication year: 2003

An annual panel of employment at the census tract level for the Atlanta region is used to estimate the change in a tract’s share of regional employment as a function of a variety of tax incentive programs, different transportation infrastructure investments, and crime. The results show that neighborhood-based property tax abatements, job tax credits, and highway improvements increase a tract’s employment share. Higher crime is found to reduce employment share.

Measurement Error in Human Capital and the Black-White Wage Gap

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger
Review of Economics and Statistics, August, 2003, Vol. 85, no. 3, pp. 578-585.
Publication year: 2003

Proxy variables arc frequently used in economics to control for unavailable variables in a linear regression setting. For example, AFQT scores have been used to control for human capital accumulation in measuring black-white wage differentials. This practice may bias the coefficient estimates for the correctly measured variables as well. This paper models proxy variables as a measurement error process and derives bounds for the coefficients on the correctly measured variables under a variety of assumptions. The results show that the coefficient on race in a linear regression is an overstatement of the actual black-white wage gap. Sensitivity analysis suggests that if human capital could be correctly measured it would be unlikely that the coefficient on black would be negative.

Iatrogenic Specification Error: A Cautionary Tale of Cleaning Data

Other Published Papers
Christopher Bollinger, Amitabh Chandra
National Bureau of Economic Research, Technical Working paper #289, February 2003
Publication year: 2003

Review of: Urban-Suburban Interdependencies

Book Reviews
edited by Rosalind Greenstein and Wim Wiewel. 2000.
Journal of Regional Science, August 2002.
Publication year: 2002

Smart Growth and the Costs of Sprawl in Kentucky: Phase I

Reports
Christopher Bollinger
Center for Business and Economic Research, University of Kentucky, 2001
Publication year: 2001

Smart Growth and the Costs of Sprawl in Kentucky: Intra-County Analysis

Reports
Christopher Bollinger
Center for Business and Economic Research, University of Kentucky, 2001
Publication year: 2001

Response error in duration of spells of Unemployment Compensation: Implications for modeling duration

Other Published Papers
Christopher Bollinger and Martin H. David
Proceedings of the Survey Methods Section of the American Statistical Association, August 2001
Publication year: 2001

Measurement Error and the Union Wage Differential

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger
Southern Economic Journal, July, 2001, Vol. 68, no 1, pp.60-76
Publication year: 2001

Broad variation in estimates of the union wage gap has perplexed labor economists. One specification error that is consistent with the observed variation is measurement error in reported union status. This article applies the results of Bollinger (1996) to estimate a range for the union wage gap. Both a cross-sectional model and a fixed-effects model are estimated. In order for the true coefficient in the fixed-effects estimates to be bounded below the true coefficient in the cross-sectional estimates, measurement error would have to be less than 0.8%. The difference between the fixed-effects estimates and the cross-sectional estimates is primarily due to measurement error rather than to unobserved heterogeneity. An examination of differences in returns to union membership by industry, occupation, and educational level shows that these differences are largely robust to measurement error. Many of these differences would be found even if error rates were as high as 10% or more.

Measuring the Unmentionable: Response Error in Self Reports of Illegal Drug Use

Reports
Christopher Bollinger
National Academies of Science, Committee on Law and Economics, October, 2001
Publication year: 2001

Iatrogenic Specification Error

Other Published Papers
Christopher Bollinger, Amitabh Chandra
Proceedings of the Survey Methods Section of the American Statistical Association, August 2001
Publication year: 2001

Estimation with Response Error and Non-response: Food Stamp Participation in the SIPP

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger and Martin H. David
Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, April, 2001, Vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 129-141
Publication year: 2001

Error in survey data originates from failure to contact the sample and from false answers to verifiable questions. These errors may be systematic and associated with uncooperative or unreliable respondents. Zabel modeled attrition in the Survey of Income and Program Participation and found systematic demographic and design effects. Bollinger and David modeled response error and identified correlations to income per capita. In this analysis, we link missing interviews in a panel and response error through a trivariate probit analysis. Robustness of the correlation between attrition and response error is examined by comparing variants of the model. The joint model of response error and attrition becomes the first stage of a pseudolikelihood estimate of a model of food-stamp participation. The model is significantly different from naive probit on the survey data.

Differential Reporting of Food Stamps and AFDC: Explanations and Conjectures

Other Published Papers
Christopher Bollinger and Martin H. David
Proceedings of the Survey Methods Sections of the American Statistical Association August 2000.
Publication year: 2000

Administrative Record Match for the Survey of Income and Program Participation: Issues and Suggestions

Reports
Christopher Bollinger
for internal use at U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000
Publication year: 2000

Spatial Variation in Office Rents within the Atlanta Region

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger, Keith R. Ihlanfeldt and David R. Bowes
Urban Studies, June, 1998, Vol. 35, no. 7, pp 1097-1118
Publication year: 1998

Hedonic office rent models are estimated using data for Atlanta that span the years 1990- 1996. Controlling for typical building characteristics and lease terms, we find that variables measuring locational differences in wage rates, transport rates, and proximity to concentrations of support services and office workers play an important role in explaining spatial variation in office rents. No evidence is found in support of the hypothesis that technological advances in telecommunications have diminished the role played by face-to-face agglomeration economies in determining the intra-metropolitan location of office firms.

Measurement Error in the CPS: A Nonparametric Look

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger
Journal of Labor Economics, July 1998, Vol. 16, no. 3, pp 576-594.
Publication year: 1998

This article utilizes an exact match file between the 1978 March Current Population Survey and administrative records from the Social Security Administration to analyze errors in the reporting of annual income using nonparametric methodology. The article extends work of Bound and Krueger, and the results confirm many of the findings in Bound and Krueger. Three new findings are of interest: there is a higher measurement error in cross-sectional samples than in panels. The negative relationship between measurement error and earnings is driven largely by overreporting among low earners. Median response errors are not related to earnings.

The Impact of Rapid Rail Transit on Economic Development: The Case of Atlanta's MARTA

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger and Keith Ihlanfeldt
Journal of Urban Economics, September 1997, vol. 42, pp 179-204.
Publication year: 1997

This paper uses a simultaneous model of census tract population and employment to study the economic impacts of Atlanta’s MARTA rail transit system. The results indicated that MARTA has had no discernible impact on total population or employment in station areas, but it has altered the composition of employment in these areas in favor of the public sector.

Modeling Discrete Choice with Response Error: Food Stamp Participation

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger and Martin H. David
Journal of the American Statistical Association, September 1997, vol. 92, no. 439, pp 827-835
Publication year: 1997

Validation of Food Stamp program participation by Marquis and Moore revealed net bias of 13% in mean estimates of participation in the 1984 Survey of Income and Program Participation. We extend the analysis, incorporating demographic and economic covariates in models for underreporting and overreporting. We use the resulting models of response error to refine estimates of participation models for underreporting and overreporting. We use the resulting models of response error to refine estimates of participation models using pseudo-maximum likelihood estimation methods. We find that the probability of underreporting rises with increased family income. Estimates of the participation model indicate the presence of substantial bias in income- and asset- related parameters compared to values obtained without incorporating response error.

Economic Impacts of Atlanta's MARTA

Reports
Christopher Bollinger
Published by Research Atlanta, 1996
Publication year: 1996

Can Attrition Proxy for Response Error?

Other Published Papers
Christopher Bollinger and Martin H. David
Proceedings of the 1996 American Statistical Association Meetings
Publication year: 1996

Bounding Mean Regressions When A Binary Regressor is Mismeasured

Papers in Refereed Journals
Christopher Bollinger
Journal of Econometrics, August, 1996, Vol. 73, no. 2, pp 387-399
Publication year: 1996

In this paper I examine identification and estimation of mean regression models when a binary regressor is mismeasured. I prove that bounds for the model parameters are identified and provide simple estimators which are consistent and asymptotically normal. When stronger prior information about the probability of misclassification is available, the bounds can be made tighter. Again, a simple estimator for these cases is provided. All results apply to parametric and nonparametric models. The paper concludes with a short empirical example.

Sample Attrition and Response Error: Do Two Wrongs Make A Right?

Other Published Papers
Christopher Bollinger and Martin H. David
Proceedings of the Bureau of the Census 1995 Annual Research Conference
Publication year: 1995

Estimation of the WIC Eligible Population in Georgia

Reports
Christopher Bollinger and Mary Beth Walker
Publication year: 1994

Modeling Food Stamp Program Participation in the Presence of Reporting Errors

Other Published Papers
Christopher Bollinger and Martin H. David
Proceedings of the Bureau of the Census 1993 Annual Research Conference, Proceedings of the 1993 American Statistical Association Meetings.
Publication year: 1993