The Benefits to Taxpayers from Increases in Students' Educational Attainment

By Stephen J. Carroll; Emre Erkut | Go to book overview

APPENDIX A
Data and Sources

Data

The SIPP contains 79,500 individuals with at least one monthly response in 2002. We excluded about 20,700 respondents who were not in the monthly sample for all 12 months and, consequently, did not provide data on full annual participation in social programs. We also excluded about 15,700 individuals who were under age 18. Finally, we excluded about 2,700 individuals who did not respond to the interview modules for immigration and medical participation. The result is a sample of 40,300 adults with annual income and participation data for 2002. We did not censure data in terms of age on the high end; the highest age in the final sample happens to be 86.


Unit of Analysis

The unit of analysis of this study is the individual. However, income taxes are based on family income, and some social support programs—welfare or food stamps, for example—target the family, not the individual. In estimating federal and state income taxes and benefits from family-oriented social support programs, we assume that income is evenly distributed among all adults in the particular household.


Educational Attainment

The key independent variable of the study is constructed from SIPP data. The related SIPP question asks for the highest degree received or grade completed, with 18 possible response choices. We mapped those choices into the four educational attainment categories used in this study. In situations where the response of a person to the education question varies along the year, June data dominates.

We performed similar mappings for surveys of the criminal justice system.

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