J Trent Alexander

University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Publications (6)6.42 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In this article, the authors describe a collaboration of the Minnesota Population Center (MPC), the U.S. Census Bureau, and the National Archives and Records Administration to restore the lost data from the 1960 Census. The data survived on refrigerated microfilm in a cave in Lenexa, Kansas. The MPC is now converting the data to usable form. Once the restored data are processed, the authors intend to develop three new data sources based on the 1960 census. These data will replace the most inadequate sample in the series of public-use census microdata spanning the years from 1850 to 2000, extend the chronological scope of the public census summary files, and provide a powerful new resource for the Census Bureau and its Research Data Centers.
    Historical Methods A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History 01/2011; 44(2):69-78.
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    J. TRENT ALEXANDER, Michael Davern, Betsey Stevenson
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    ABSTRACT: We examine the physical and mental health effects of providing care to an elderly mother on the adult child caregiver. We address the endogeneity of the selection in and out of caregiving using an instrumental variable approach, and carefully control for baseline health and work status of the adult child using fixed effects and Arellano-Bond estimation techniques. Continued caregiving over time increases depressive symptoms for married women and married men. In addition, the increase in depressive symptoms is persistent for married men. Depressive symptoms for single men and women are not affected by continued caregiving. There is a small protective effect on the likelihood (10%) of having any heart conditions among married women who continue caregiving. Robustness checks confirm that the increase in depressive symptoms and decrease in likelihood of heart conditions can be directly attributable to caregiving behavior, and not due to a direct effect of the death of the mother. The initial onset of caregiving, by contrast, has no immediate effects on physical or mental health for any subgroup of caregivers.
    Public Opinion Quarterly 01/2010; · 2.25 Impact Factor
  • 3 01/2010; Minnesota Population Center University of Minnesota.
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    J Trent Alexander, Michael Davern, Betsey Stevenson
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    ABSTRACT: We discover and document errors in public-use microdata samples ("PUMS files") of the 2000 Census, the 2003-2006 American Community Survey, and the 2004-2009 Current Population Survey. For women and men age 65 and older, age- and sex-specific population estimates generated from the PUMS files differ by as much as 15 percent from counts in published data tables. Moreover, an analysis of labor-force participation and marriage rates suggests the PUMS samples are not representative of the population at individual ages for those age 65 and over. PUMS files substantially underestimate labor-force participation of those near retirement age and overestimate labor-force participation rates of those at older ages. These problems were an unintentional byproduct of the misapplication of a newer generation of disclosure-avoidance procedures carried out on the data. The resulting errors in the public-use data could significantly impact studies of people age 65 and older, particularly analyses of variables that are expected to change by age.
    Public Opinion Quarterly 01/2010; 74(3):551-569. · 2.25 Impact Factor
  • 5.0 01/2010; Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota.
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    ABSTRACT: Virtually all quantitative microdata used by social scientists derive from samples that incorporate clustering, stratification, and weighting adjustments (Kish 1965, 1992). Such data can yield standard error estimates that differ dramatically from those derived from a simple random sample of the same size. Researchers using historical U.S. census microdata, however, usually apply methods designed for simple random samples. The resulting p values and confidence intervals could be inaccurate and could lead to erroneous research conclusions. Because U.S. census microdata samples are among the most widely used sources for social science and policy research, the need for reliable standard error estimation is critical. We evaluate the historical microdata samples of the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) project from 1850 to 1950 in order to determine (1) the impact of sample design on standard error estimates, and (2) how to apply modern standard error estimation software to historical census samples. We exploit a unique new data source from the 1880 census to validate our methods for standard error estimation, and then we apply this approach to the 1850-1870 and 1900-1950 decennial censuses. We conclude that Taylor series estimation can be used effectively with the historical decennial census microdata samples and should be applied in research analyses that have the potential for substantial clustering effects.
    Demography 08/2009; 46(3):589-603. · 1.93 Impact Factor