REENGINEERING THE SURVEY OF INCOME AND PROGRAM PARTICIPATION

Panel on the Census Bureau’s Reengineered Survey of Income and Program Participation

Constance F. Citro and John Karl Scholz, Editors

Committee on National Statistics

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

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ReengineeRing the SURVEY OF INCOME AND PROGRAM PARTICIPATION Panel on the Census Bureau’s Reengineered Survey of Income and Program Participation Constance F. Citro and John Karl Scholz, Editors Committee on National Statistics Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Govern- ing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineer- ing, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropri- ate balance. This study was supported by contract number YA132306CN0025 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Census Bureau. Support for the work of the Committee on National Statistics is provided by a consortium of federal agencies through a grant from the National Science Foundation (award number SES-0453930). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-14173-4 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-14173-7 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2009). Reengineering the Survey of Income and Program Participation. Panel on the Census Bureau’s Reengineered Survey of Income and Program Participation, Constance F. Citro and John Karl Scholz, Editors. Committee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general wel- fare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineer- ing programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is presi- dent of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Insti- tute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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PANEL ON THE CENSuS BuREAu’S REENgINEERED SuRvEy OF INCOME AND PROgRAM PARTICIPATION JOHN KARL SCHOLZ (Chair), Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin–Madison F. JAY BREIDT, Department of Statistics, Colorado State University LEONARD E. BURMAN, Maxwell School, Syracuse University JOHN L. CZAJKA, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Washington, DC PETER GOTTSCHALK, Department of Economics, Boston College RONALD T. HASKINS, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC V. JOSEPH HOTZ, Department of Economics, Duke University JOHN ICELAND, Department of Sociology, Pennsylvania State University JEROME P. REITER, Department of Statistical Science, Duke University DEANNA T. SCHEXNAYDER, Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin ROBERT F. SCHOENI, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan–Ann Arbor JENNIFER VAN HOOK, Department of Sociology, Pennsylvania State University CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Study Director PATRICIA RUGGLES, Study Director (through June 2008) CARYN KUEBLER, Associate Program Officer (through March 2008) AGNES GASKIN, Administrative Assistant DOUGLAS SYLVESTER, Consultant, College of Law, Arizona State University v

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COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS 2008-2009 WILLIAM F. EDDY (Chair), Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University KATHARINE ABRAHAM, Department of Economics, University of Maryland, and Joint Program in Survey Methodology ALICA CARRIQUIRY, Department of Statistics, Iowa State University WILLIAM DuMOUCHEL, Phase Forward, Inc., Waltham, Massachusetts JOHN HALTIWANGER, Department of Economics, University of Maryland V. JOSEPH HOTZ, Department of Economics, Duke University KAREN KAFADAR, Department of Statistics, Indiana University DOUGLAS MASSEY, Department of Sociology, Princeton University SALLY MORTON, Statistics and Epidemiology, Research Triangle Institute, North Carolina JOSEPH NEWHOUSE, Division of Health Policy Research and Education, Harvard University SAMUEL H. PRESTON, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania HAL STERN, Department of Statistics, University of California, Irvine ROGER TOURANGEAU, Joint Program in Survey Methodology, University of Maryland ALAN ZASLAVSKY, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Director vi

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Acknowledgments T he Panel on the Census Bureau’s Reengineered Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) thanks the many people who con- tributed their time and expertise to the preparation of this report. We are most appreciative of their cooperation and assistance. We particu- larly thank the leadership responsible for SIPP at the U.S. Census Bureau, Howard Hogan, associate director for demographic programs, and David Johnson, chief of the Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, who provided consistent and strong support for the work of the panel. David merits special recognition as the innovative, energetic driver of the SIPP reengineering effort. We also thank the many Census Bureau staff who made informative presentations to the panel and who responded to our many requests for information and explanation with alacrity and good will, including Patrick Benton, Michael Berning, Judith Eargle, James Farber, Jason Fields, James Gibbs, Denise Lewis, Tracy Mattingly, Nat McKee, Sally Obenski, Cotty Smith, Martha Stinson, and Deborah Wagner. We thank other individuals who made presentations to the panel in their areas of expertise, including John Abowd, Cornell University; Robert F. Belli, University of Nebraska; Heather Boushey, Center for American Progress; Janet Holtzblatt, U.S. Treasury Department; Howard M. Iams, Social Security Administration; Julia Lane, National Science Foundation; Donald Oellerich, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Ralph Rector, U.S. Treasury Department; and Arloc Sherman, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. We are particularly grateful to Douglas Sylvester and his colleagues, Kirk Bardin and Jessica Wann, at Arizona State University, who prepared a thorough-going assessment for the panel of statutes for the vii

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viii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 50 states regarding the potential availability for use in a reengineered SIPP of state administrative records for the Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, other cash benefits, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation programs. The panel is indebted to its staff. Patricia Ruggles, United Nations Statistics Division, served as study director from fall 2006 through summer 2008 and drew on her extensive knowledge of SIPP and its uses for wel- fare program policy analysis in organizing panel meetings and drafting the panel’s report. She was ably assisted by Caryn Kuebler, associate program officer for the panel through March 2008, and Agnes Gaskin, administra- tive assistant. The report was edited by Christine McShane. Connie Citro, director of the Committee on National Statistics, served as study director from summer 2008 and saw the panel’s report through to completion. She went well beyond the standard for a high-quality study director. The panel gives thanks for her intellectual leadership, report writing, and enthusiasm for this project. Most importantly, I am indebted to the panel members themselves. They were extremely hard working, providing draft text and comments on several rounds of drafts on a complex topic. Special kudos go to John Czajka, who drafted the appendix on the quality of SIPP data and contrib- uted materially to the data quality-related sections of Chapters 2 and 4 and to many other aspects of the report. Jay Breidt and Jerry Reiter made impor- tant contributions to the discussion of imputation methods and approaches for confidentiality protection in Chapter 3; Deanna Schexnayder provided informative material on arrangements for accessing state administrative records for welfare program research; and Jennifer Van Hook contributed material on immigration data and SIPP accessibility. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with proce- dures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Robert F. Belli, Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Heather Boushey, Economic Policy, Center for American Progress; Jacob J. Feldman, Center for Health Research and Policy, Social and Scientific Systems; Howard M. Iams, Office of Retirement and Disability Policy/Office of Research Evaluation, and Sta- tistics, Social Security Administration; Pamela Loprest, Income and Benefits Policy, The Urban Institute; Allen Schirm, Mathematica Policy Research;

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ix ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Timothy M. Smeeding, Institute for Research on Poverty, Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin–Madison; and Frank P. Stafford, Population Studies Center and Survey Research Center, University of Michigan. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Johanna T. Dwyer, Tufts University School of Medicine and Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts Medical Center. Appointed by the NRC’s Report Review Committee, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institu- tional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring panel and the institution. Finally, we recognize the many federal agencies that support the Com- mittee on National Statistics directly and through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Without their support and their commitment to improv- ing the national statistical system, the committee work that is the basis of this report would not have been possible. John Karl Scholz, Chair Panel on the Census Bureau’s Reengineered Survey of Income and Program Participation

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Contents Summary 1 1 Introduction 11 SIPP in Brief, 12 SIPP’s Unique Contribution, 13 Reengineering, 15 Organization of the Report, 15 2 SIPP’s History, Strengths, and Weaknesses 17 History, 17 Strengths and Weaknesses of SIPP Data, 30 Conclusions and Recommendations, 36 3 Expanded Use of Administrative Records 37 A Framework for Assessing Uses of Administrative Records, 38 SIPP’s History with Administrative Records, 46 Other Census Bureau Uses of Administrative Records, 53 Acquisition of Administrative Records, 56 Linkage of Administrative and Survey Records, 66 Indirect Uses, 68 Direct Uses, 77 Confidentiality Protection and Data Access, 86 Conclusions and Recommendations, 92 xi

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xii CONTENTS 4 Innovation in Design and Data Collection 97 Event History Calendars, 98 Length and Frequency of Interviews, 107 Length and Overlap of Panels, 109 Content Evaluation, 111 SIPP Processing, Access, Management, and Budget, 118 Conclusions and Recommendations, 122 Appendixes A SIPP Data Quality, John L. Czajka 127 B Biographical Sketches of Panel Members and Staff 159 References 165