Economic measurement in the health and retirement study
Forum for Health Economics & Policy. Volume 14, Issue 3.
The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is widely use for research on the well-being of the elderly. This paper assesses the quality of economic and financial variables in the HRS. I find the coverage is comprehensive and the quality of the data is uniformly high. Thus the HRS has earned its position as the most widely used data source for research on retirement, saving adequacy, pension policy and a host of other aging-related topics. I identify two general areas that continue to merit special attention. The first is measurement error, particularly errors arising from item non-response and from inaccurate respondent reports of the ownership and level of assets. The second is the quality of the pension data. Where appropriate, I make suggestions for improving economic measures in the HRS.