UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

British Household Panel Survey Employment Histories: Waves 1-11, 1991-2002

Title details

SN: 4705
Title: British Household Panel Survey Employment Histories: Waves 1-11, 1991-2002
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-4705-1
Depositor: Paull, G., Institute for Fiscal Studies
Principal investigator(s): Paull, G., Institute for Fiscal Studies
Data collector(s): University of Essex. Institute for Social and Economic Research
Sponsor(s): Economic and Social Research Council
Other acknowledgements: This study was funded by the ESRC Centre for Micro Economic Analysis of Public Policy at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.


The citation for this study is:

Paull, G. (2010). British Household Panel Survey Employment Histories: Waves 1-11, 1991-2002. [data collection]. 2nd Edition. UK Data Service. SN: 4705,

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Subject Categories

General - Employment and labour


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

This study was compiled using data from Waves 1-11 of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS - held at the UK Data Archive under GN 33196). The main objective of the research project was to investigate the impact of recall bias on measured labour market behaviour and to highlight how and to what degree the biases in the reported data may affect the estimation of models of labour market dynamics. The labour force histories in the BHPS provided a unique opportunity to analyse this potential bias by collecting information for the same time period from two different interviews (the 'wave overlaps'). Employment histories from the original data were constructed in two different ways, mimicking that which might be collected by repeated interview, and also that collected by a single retrospective interview. This allowed comparison of the measured labour dynamics from each approach. A 'reconciled' data set was also constructed as a base comparison, attempting to provide the most accurate picture of behaviour.

For the second edition (December 2010), an updated version of the user guide was deposited. Changes have been made to the introductory text and the details given for the program bhpshist3.
Main Topics:
The dataset consists of eight data files derived from data from the first 11 waves of the BHPS. Each dataset contains a record for each full interview provided by each individual. The data contain a series of variables defining the individual's labour force spells since leaving full-time education until the time of the interview. The spells are defined in terms of spell state, start date and end date. This series of spells has been used to construct summary measures of the number of months in employment since leaving full-time education and employer tenure in months. Each file contains the same variables and the same sample, but the employment history variables in each file have been constructed under different methods. Two types of data source and four construction methods define the eight data files. The two types of data sources consist of 'main activity' and 'all-work' sources. The 'main activity' information derives from questions about the individual's self-defined main status, while the 'all-work' sources aim to record all employment spells. At each interview in the BHPS, information on labour force spells is collected for a period extending prior to the previous interview. This can generate inconsistencies in the spells reported during this 'overlap' period. The four methods of construction are based on which source of information is used for this overlap period. The first method, called the 'traditional panel', ignores any information prior to previous interview. The second method, named 'latest interview rules' only uses information from previous interviews to complete gaps. The 'reconciled' method uses case-by-case correction of inconsistencies, while the final method, 'selected no problems', uses only those observations with no inconsistencies.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Time period: 1991 - 2002 - The time period covered by the data is that of BHPS Waves 1-11.
Country: United Kingdom
Spatial units: Counties
Counties (Metropolitan)
Unitary Authorities (England)
Observation units: Individuals
respondents to Waves 1-11 of BHPS.
Kind of data: Numeric data
Individual (micro) level
Universe: National
Individuals aged 16 years and over who were included in the sample for BHPS Waves 1-11. Northern Ireland was included in the sample from Wave 11, but Waves 1-10 cover Great Britain only.
Time dimensions: Cross-sectional (one-time) study
based on longitudinal data from Waves 1-11 of the BHPS.
Sampling procedures: No sampling (total universe)
all cases from BHPS Waves 1-11 were included.
Number of units: Numbers correspond to those included in Waves 1-11 of BHPS.
Method of data collection: Compilation or synthesis of existing material
data collated from Waves 1-11 of BHPS.
Weighting: No information recorded
Data sources: The data are taken from Waves 1-11 of the BHPS.

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 03 September 2003
Latest edition: 13 December 2010 (2nd Edition)
Copyright: Copyright held jointly between Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, and Institute for Fiscal Studies
Access conditions: The depositor has specified that registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage. See terms and conditions of access for further information.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
User Guide 4705userguide.pdf 774
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_4705_Information.htm 6
READ File read4705.htm 11


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By principal investigator(s):
Paull, G. (2002) Biases in the reporting of labour market dynamics, Institute for Fiscal Studies Working Paper WP02/10, June. This paper is also included in the study documentation.

Resulting from secondary analysis:


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