Monthly Archive for April, 2014

Caught in Poverty

The New York Times is beginning a series examining hardship 50 years after the war on poverty. The first in the series is “50 Years Into the War on Poverty, Hardship Hits Back” by Trip Gabriel:

McDowell County, W.Va., has been a public face of hardship for more than a half-century. But today, it is burdened with a different, less tractable kind of poverty.

Interactive Map: Mapping Poverty in America

A questionnaire change: politics or not?

The Census Bureau has changed how it will measure insurance coverage in the Current Population Survey – Census Bureau announcement.

Many on both the left and right are unhappy with this change because of the discontinuity with the insurance measure over time – in other words, before Obamacare and after Obamacare.

Many of the comments reflect ignorance on how much research goes into changing, adding, deleting questions or that OMB always reviews questionnaire changes (even under Republican presidents). Also this change is to the questionnaire in the CPS, not the American Community Survey (or long-form census).

But, this quote probably reflects the view of many health analysts: “Getting worked up into an increasingly heated health nerd rage about the Census changes. We’re losing our best data source on Obamacare.” via Twitter. [See tweet and comments]

Here is a compilation of articles in the order they were published:

Census Bureau: Sorry, We’re Going to Have a Hard Time Measuring . .
Patrick Brennan | National Review Online
April 15, 2014

Obama Hijacks Census to Whitewash ObamaCare’s Failure
B. Christopher Agee | Western Journalism
April 15, 2014

Both Sides in Obamacare Fight Slam Census Bureau
Rob Garver | Fiscal Times
April 15, 2014

Census Survey Revisions Mask Health Law Effects
Robert Pear | New York Times
April 15, 2014

Want Useful Data on Obamacare? The Census Bureau Won’t Help
Peter Suderman | Reason (blog)
April 15, 2014

Manipulating Obamacare Stats: The Census Bureau’s Suspect Timing
Guy Benson | Town Hall (blog)
April 15, 2014

Obama’s cooking the Census for Obamacare?
Megan McArdle | Newsday
April 15, 2014

“You Had One Job” [Federal Health Insurance Statistics Edition]
Ben Mathis-Lilley | Slate
April 15, 2014

Republicans Accuse Census Bureau of Trying to ‘Hide the Effects of Obamacare’
Michael McAuliff | Huffington Post
April 15, 2014

Finding “war brides” in the ACS

Several years ago the Census Bureau added a “what year were you married” question to the American Community Survey. This was an uncontroversial change to the questionnaire because it helped shore up data on marriages.

See link from the IPUMS for all the new marriage/divorce timing variables

The CDC used to collate marriage and divorce certificate data from state vital statistics offices, but ceased this operation in the mid-1990s due to budgetary constraints [See sad note to this effect].

Here is a nice illustration from Philip Cohen’s Family Inequality blog on using these data to find out how many World War II “war brides” are still alive.

How many WWII war brides are still living?
Philip Cohen | Family Inequality blog
April 14, 2014

If you don’t like his definition of a war bride, make your own and write it up in your own blog.

The Effects of Rurality on College Access and Choice

Via: Chronicle of Higher Education, The Ticker

By: Michael Andrew Koicich, Texas Tech University
Presented at:
AERA 2014 Annual Meeting
April 4, 2014

Abstract:

Students from rural areas have a history of lower educational attainment at both the K-12 and postsecondary levels, yet this population remains understudied. This study seeks to update past studies of rural youth by examining college attendance and choice decisions for students from non-metropolitan counties. Logistic regression is used to study the postsecondary attendance and institutional choice for rural students. Data are taken from two national data sets, the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 and the 2004 County Typologies published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which are then combined to conduct this analysis. The results of this study reveal clear disadvantages in postsecondary attendance, institutional level, selectivity, and other indicators resulting simply from living in a non-metropolitan county. The effect of most student characteristics did not vary substantially between rural and non-rural areas, but the analysis did reveal one interesting finding: The relationship between college attendance and choice and a student’s socioeconomic status was weaker for rural students than for non-rural students. Some systematic variation across rural communities was revealed, as well.

Full paper (PDF)

Working Papers from NBER

Using Social Media to Measure Labor Market Flows
by Dolan Antenucci, Michael Cafarella, Margaret C. Levenstein, Christopher Re, Matthew D. Shapiro #20010
Abstract; PDF

Why Stars Matter
by Ajay Agrawal, John McHale, Alexander Oettl #20012
Abstract; PDF

Preferences, Selection, and Value Added: A Structural Approach
by Saziye Pelin Akyol, Kala Krishna #20013
Abstract; PDF

The Impact of Emerging Climate Risks on Urban Real Estate Price Dynamics
by Devin Bunten, Matthew E. Kahn #20018
Abstract; PDF

The ACA: Some Unpleasant Welfare Arithmetic
by Casey B. Mulligan #20020
Abstract; PDF

How Much Favorable Selection Is Left in Medicare Advantage?
by Joseph P. Newhouse, Mary Price, J. Michael McWilliams, John Hsu, Thomas G. McGuire #20021
Abstract; PDF

Behavioral and Descriptive Forms of Choice Models
by Ariel Pakes #20022
Abstract; PDF

Input Diffusion and the Evolution of Production Networks
by Vasco Carvalho, Nico Voigtlaender #20025
Abstract; PDF

Which Peers Matter? The Relative Impacts of Collaborators, Colleagues, and Competitors
by George J. Borjas, Kirk B. Doran #20026
Abstract; PDF