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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Measurement Biases in Panel Data


The objective of this paper is to examine reporting errors in panel data obtained from multi-day travel diaries. A distinction is made between within and between wave biases. The former leads to an increase in under-reporting associated with the number of days the diary is kept. The latter is related to the number of waves respondents have been participating, so-called panel experience. These biases imply that observed mobility changes between waves are partly due to reporting errors: without controlling for them, changes in mobility can not be inferred from the data. An important cause of these measurement errors is the increase in the number of days on which no trips at all were reported. In addition, shorter trips and less complex chains are more susceptible to underreporting. The methodology used in this paper provides a means of dealing with these problems. Attrition is taken into account by a rather simple measure. The paper concludes with a number of suggestions for sample and survey design.

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