Researcher Contribution: Labor Section Carry Forward Variables

February 4, 2002

Some labor characteristic questions in the employment section of the HRS (i.e. start date of current employment) are asked only when a respondent is first interviewed or when he/ she states there has been a change in employment. These questions are not asked again in following interviews unless the respondent states there has been a change in employment. This set of questions/variables will be called the reference questions/variables in this documentation.

A set of data files has been constructed including the reference variables for each of the employment sections of the 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000 surveys. The variables have been constructed by using the values in the corresponding year of interview data for the respondent who was asked the reference questions that interview year. If the respondent was not asked the reference questions that interview year, the data are the values provided from the most recent interview year the reference questions were asked. An additional variable has been provided for each of the reference variables indicating the source of each variable constructed.

The data files are at the respondent level. The 1994 and 1996 data files consist of only the HRS entry cohort. The 1998 and 2000 data files consist of both the HRS and War Baby entry cohorts. The employment data can be found in Sections FA and FB for the 1994 interview year and in Section G for the following interview years.

To demonstrate, assume we are looking at the 2000 survey data, at a respondent who was first interviewed in 1992. The respondent reported working with the same 1992 employer in the 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000 interviews. In this case, the reference questions were skipped in all interviews following 1992. It may be necessary to know the start date of employment for this respondent in years 1994, 1996 and/ or 1998. Instead of going through each file of data for each of the prior interview years, the Employer Reference File (for 2000) can tell you the start date of current employment is June 1, 1989 and the interview year that value came from was the 1992 survey data. We can refer to the preceding example as Case 1.

Case 2 looks at the 2000 survey data but now at a respondent who was first interviewed in 1992 but had a change of employment reported in 1994 and in 1996. In this case, the reference questions were skipped in 1998 and 2000. The data for this respondent in the Employer Reference File (for 2000) will provide the start date of current employment of June 1, 1995 and the interview that value came from was the 1996 survey data.

It is important to note that the data in the Employer Reference file (for 2000) is the most recent data provided by respondents. It does not provide the researcher with an overview of the work history for a respondent over the course of the study. (The record for Case 2 does not reveal a change in employment in 1994.)

Note: Be sure to check the HRS File Merge Cross-Reference Table for up-to-date information on the restricted data merge status of this data set.

Copyright © 2014 The Regents of the University of Michigan