Measurement error in spell durations from panel surveys: nature, causes and consequencesISER Internal Seminars

Little is known about the nature of measurement error in panel data, or about the potential biasing effects on estimates. Methods of adjusting for errors in event history data tend to assume that errors in spell durations are random, and not related to true durations or variables predictive of spell durations. This paper uses data from four waves on a subset of the British Household Panel Survey, to examine measurement error in spell durations. Survey data on the receipt of State benefits and tax credits were linked to individual-level administrative data and used to assess 1) the distributional properties of measurement error and whether the assumptions of random error hold, 2) hypotheses about the processes leading to measurement error and whether it is possible to predict situations in which errors are more likely to occur, and 3) implications for analysis and the extent to which measurement error biases results. The findings suggest that there is considerable measurement error in spell durations derived from panel data. Errors are non-random and to some extent predictable. The resulting biases in estimates of spell durations and multivariate duration models nonetheless appear to be reassuringly small.

Presented by:

Annette Jäckle, ISER

Date & time:

May 20, 2009 12:00 pm - May 20, 2009 1:00 pm

Internal seminars home


Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest