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Reconciling Occupational Mobility in the Current Population Survey

Christian vom Lehn, Cache Ellsworth and Zachary Kroff ()

Journal of Labor Economics, 2022, vol. 40, issue 4, 1005 - 1051

Abstract: Measuring occupational mobility from the Current Population Survey using retrospective or longitudinal methods generates substantially different outcomes, in both levels and trends. Using a generalized method of moments technique, we estimate the level of occupational mobility and the measurement error in both of these measures for 1981–2018. We estimate that occupational mobility has been trending down, particularly since 2000, consistent with retrospective measures of occupational mobility. However, estimated mobility is 2–3 percentage points or 60%–70% higher than retrospective measures. Measurement error in longitudinal measures is large and has been worsening over time.

Date: 2022
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