How well do we measure employer-provided health insurance coverage?

Mark C. Berger, Dan A. Black, Frank A. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Using data from the Current Population Survey and a new matched survey of employers and employees, this paper investigates error in the measurement of employer-provided health insurance. The often-used March CPS gives lower coverage estimates than the April/May CPS, which focuses on employer-provided coverage. In addition, individuals who are in both the March CPS and April/May CPS often give inconsistent responses on their health insurance status, perhaps due to differences in the wording of the health insurance questions. A new survey shows that workers tend to report higher rates of coverage than do firms and that many individuals also disagree with their employers about their coverage. The differences in the firm and worker reports of coverage are uncorrelated with standard worker and firm characteristics, suggesting classical measurement error that does not bias the parameters of models explaining health coverage. When health insurance is used as an explanatory variable, however, measurement error results in significant bias toward zero.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-367
Number of pages12
JournalContemporary Economic Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Administration


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