Uses of Panel Study of Income Dynamics Data in Research on Aging

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The Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) has, over its 50-year history, proven to be a useful source of data for research on virtually all the major topics in the area of social gerontology. This usefulness reflects three of the leading features of the PSID: its longitudinality; its content; and its tracking rules, which permit users to develop family-based and generationally linked measures. This article summarizes key areas of survey content, including both routinely collected data and several one-time or occasional supplements to the routine items. The article also illustrates how these data elements have been used, providing examples of published papers in several areas of social gerontology. Finally, the article points out some methodological issues associated with the PSID design; these methodological issues arise, in varying degrees, in longitudinal studies other than the PSID, and should be acknowledged by both the producers and consumers of longitudinal-data research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-212
Number of pages20
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • contextual effects
  • life course
  • longitudinal data
  • selection effects
  • social gerontology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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