Introduction to the JHR's Special Issue on Cross-National Comparative Research Using Panel Surveys

by James P. Smith, Frank Stafford, James Walker


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Until recently, international comparative research had a poor reputation, especially in economics. Panel surveys comparable to those in the United States either did not exist or were viewed as being of low quality. However, the number and quantity of international panels surveys are improving rapidly and in many dimensions will soon exceed those of their U.S. counterparts, particularly as foreign-born academics trained in the United States use data from their home countries in their research. This article introduces a series of papers presented at a conference on comparative international research using panel surveys, which took place in Ann Arbor, Michigan in October 2000. Its goal was to encourage researchers in the social sciences to use panel surveys to address critical scientific and policy issues that would be better informed by international comparisons and the variation in policy environments across countries. Five of the seven papers explicitly or implicitly examine international differences in savings behavior and wealth accumulation; the two remaining papers use international comparisons to assess the status of young children.

Originally published in: Journal of Human Resources, v. 38, no. 2, 2003, pp. 231-240.

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