Sample Dynamics

Some Behavioral Issues

by Lee A. Lillard


Download Free Electronic Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.8 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback15 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Panel surveys are most useful for the analysis of models of dynamic behavior, change over time, latent variable models, and measurement error. Panel data are usually treated as observations of a given economic unit for a fixed number of periods. This paper points out some of the ways that panel samples themselves are dynamic and may influence or be influenced by the behaviors under study. The discussion relies on the author's experience with the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and other panel data and, in particular, on a study of the PSID's representativeness after 14 years. The author introduces the issues of sample dynamics that arise in family-oriented panel surveys; discusses the potential influence of entry and exit of sample members on behavioral outcomes; and considers the influence of recent behavior on the likelihood of leaving the panel, both for original sample members and new entrants. The findings suggest that the inclusion of nonsample individuals or of the earlier observations for those who leave the panel can dramatically affect the size and character of the sample used for the estimation of a particular behavioral model.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

This research in the public interest was supported by RAND, using discretionary funds made possible by the generosity of RAND's donors, the fees earned on client-funded research, and independent research and development (IR&D) funds provided by the Department of Defense.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.