We are trying to use CPS data to identify whether and how childcare is a barrier to workforce participation. There are two items which are available in the CPS monthly samples - WNLOOK and WHYABSNT - which explicitly list childcare as a barrier.
We are trying to figure out the source questionnaire text for these two IPUMS variables. Are these single-select items, multiple-select items, or is this an open-response item to the WANTJOB question? For instance, for WNLOOK, are the childcare responses tabulated by coding every participant who stated that childcare is an obstacle to the question “What is the reason [this person] is not looking for work?” The KIDDUTY variable suggests that WNLOOK is the result of coding 11 open-ended responses which are not mutually exclusive, i.e., when survey participants are asked “What is the reason [this person] is not looking for work?”, they can provide multiple responses, such as childcare and family responsibilities, and both those responses would be coded as those two respective categories in the WNLOOK variable.
Or, are the 11 categories in WNLOOK derived from a question which provides single-select or multiple-select answers for survey participants?
Both WNLOOK and WHYABSNT provide only a single main reason for why a respondent is not looking for work or absent from work. In the case of WNLOOK (DWRSN in the original documentation), enumerators are given 10 mutually exclusive options, as well as an other option that they can use to categorize a single response. They are specifically instructed in the labor force section of the interviewer’s manual not to read the list of options, but to simply categorize the answer to the open-ended question, “what is the main reason [they were] not looking for work during the last 4 weeks”. Therefore, childcare responses are tabulated by coding every participant who stated that childcare is the main reason. This question is asked of all persons 15+ who are not working, have not looked for work within the past 4 weeks, but do want a job. In the case of WHYABSNT (ABSRSN in the original documentation), enumerators are given 13 options, as well as an other option to categorize a single response. There are no specific instructions regarding reading the list of options for WHYABSNT, but enumerators are advised to provide neutral probing questions when an answer is unclear. One might interpret this as an indication that enumerators generally do not read the list.
KIDDUTY and related variables such as BLVENOWK were asked of outgoing rotation groups (ORGs) in the ASEC between 1976-1994. They were not mutually exclusive as enumerators recorded all possible responses. In 1994 these were replaced by WNLOOK, which only asks for the main reason the respondent did not look for work