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How bad is occupational coding error? A task-based approach

Jamin Speer

Economics Letters, 2016, vol. 141, issue C, 166-168

Abstract: Studies of occupational choice and mobility are often plagued by rampant occupational coding error. Use of task-based occupation measures, such as O*Net, may mitigate the bias caused by coding error if the occupation is misclassified as an occupation similar to the true occupation. Measuring occupational changes in “task space”, I find that task-based measures reduce the problems of coding error, but only slightly. If one does not correct for coding error, one overestimates traditional occupational mobility rates by about 90%; using task-based measures, the overestimate of mobility is still 75%. I also show that when tasks are used as regressors and coding error is not corrected, estimates will be attenuated by 15%–20%. Task-based measures are a slight improvement over census occupation codes but are no panacea for dealing with coding error.

Keywords: Occupational mobility; Coding error; Task-based occupation measures (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J60 J62 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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