Measurement error in earnings data in the health and retirement study

Jesse Bricker, Gary V. Engelhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This paper provides new evidence on the extent of measurement error in respondent-reported earnings data by exploiting detailed W-2 records matched to older workers in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). There is a negative correlation between the measurement error and the true value of earnings as measured by the W-2 records, which indicates the presence of non-classical measurement error. Yet for men and women, this error shows little correlation with a standard set of cross-sectional earnings determinants. Quantitatively, the bias from using self-reported earnings, either as a dependent or explanatory variable, is larger than those from existing studies of the CPS and PSID.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-61
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Economic and Social Measurement
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008


  • Earnings
  • Measurement error

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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