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British Household Panel Survey; Combined Work-Life History Data, 1990-2003

Publication date

13 Oct 2004


The BHPS collects extensive information on respondents' labour market status, (i) at the time of interview at each wave of the panel, (ii) through the period between 1st September a year before and the interview date, and (iii) retrospectively from first leaving full-time education. Because the retrospective information was collected in two tranches (one focusing on employment status, the other on occupational information) there are four different types of labour-market history information, located (at Wave 8) in eighteen different files in the BHPS database. This complexity is a necessary aspect of longitudinal information, but it has inhibited use of the work-life history data. In order to facilitate such use, a set of 'reconciled' files has been created, constituting single continuous records each containing all the information of a particular type in a single location. The first part of the exercise is to take 'current status' information and combine it with the inter-wave history, for each wave, and then to combine the eight waves thus creating a continous record from September 1990 to the September 1999 (and later). The second stage is to take the life-time employment status history collected at Wave 2, and the life-time occupational history collected at Wave 3, and to combine each of them with analogous information drawn from the combined panel file, thus creating employment and occupational histories that stretch from the labour-market entry to the latest wave. The third stage is to combine these two extended life-time histories into a single record which contains both employment-status information (with good information about non-employed spells) and occupational information (that is, details about the job held during each employed spell). Further details of the methods used are included in the following technical paper:
Halpin, B. (1997) Unified BHPS work-life histories : combining multiple sources into a user-friendly format, Technical Papers of the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change, Technical Paper 13, Colchester: University of Essex.
Users are recommended to use these data in conjunction with the main BHPS dataset. It should also be noted that this dataset is in package format - please see READ file for further details on formats and use.
For the fourth edition (2004), the file 'newpan' was updated. The rest of the data and documentation remain unchanged. The dataset is unlikely to be updated again for the foreseeable future.


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