Measurement errors in retrospective reports of event histories. A validation study with Finnish register data

  • Marjo Pyy-Martikainen
  • Ulrich Rendtel
Keywords: measurement error bias, validation study, event history data, unemployment spells

Abstract

It is well known that retrospective survey reports of event histories are affected by measurement errors. Yet little is known about the determinants of measurement errors in event history data or their effects on event history analysis. Making use of longitudinal register data linked at person-level with longitudinal survey data, we provide novel evidence about 1) type and magnitude of measurement errors in survey reports of event histories, 2) validity of classical assumptions about measurement errors, 3) measurement error bias and 4) effect of measurement accuracy in event history analysis. The classical assumptions about measurement errors are not supported by our measurement error models. Measurement error in both spell durations and spell outcomes are shown to be important causes of bias in an event history analysis. The effects of education and earnings-related unemployment benefit are estimated with sizeable bias. The magnitude of bias in estimated covariate effects does not depend on model type whereas the Cox model produces clearly less biased estimates of baseline hazard compared to the Weibull model. The large bias in the Weibull baseline hazard is shown to be almost entirely due to low measurement accuracy in survey data.

Author Biographies

Marjo Pyy-Martikainen
Statistics Finland and Åbo Akademi
Ulrich Rendtel
Institute of Statistics and Econometrics, Free University Berlin
Published
2009-12-23
How to Cite
Pyy-Martikainen, M., & Rendtel, U. (2009). Measurement errors in retrospective reports of event histories. A validation study with Finnish register data. Survey Research Methods, 3(3), 139-155. https://doi.org/10.18148/srm/2009.v3i3.2372
Section
Articles