Proxy for Experience in IPUMS USA

How can I proxy for experience from the ACS dataset?

The variables available were the usual hours worked last week and weeks worked last year. The age of which education has been completed is also not available.

What could be the nearest proxy for experience for a wage equation?

You are correct that there aren’t variables that directly report work experience in the ACS data. Additionally, no information on the age at which education was completed is available. You might try to proxy for work experience by assuming the age a respondent entered the workforce using their education level. For example, a respondent whose highest level of education is 12th grade (EDUC = 6) might be assumed to have completed their education at age 18. More information on what ages researchers assume people enter the labor market is available on this StackExchange post.

One place you may be able to glean additional information about work experience from is the universe for OCC (occupation). This is because OCC reports the occupation not only for respondents who worked within the previous year, but also for respondents who had worked anytime in the five years preceding the previous year. You can also obtain this information in the year specific source variables for WORKEDYR, which report whether a respondent had last worked within the last 12 months, within the preceding five years, or had last worked more than 5 years ago or never worked at all.

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