Should I use EARNWT or WTSUPP in my regressions and tables that use the CPS March Supplement


My research requires that I predict the expected labor market earnings of individuals who are not employed. To do this I have run an expected earnings regression, with incwage as the explained variable and demographic characteristics, level of education, region in which one live, etc. as the explanatory variables. I’ve choice to weigh the data in Stata using i weights (iw) and using WTSUPP.

I used WTSUPP, as opposed to EARNWT, because what I have read about weighting in the CPS March Supplement seems to suggest that I ought to use WTSUPP if I use non-earnings related variables, such as education and sex. I have also used WTSUPP because my research requires that I run a number of other regression that use the same explanatory variables but have different y variables that are not earnings related (such as labor force participation).

My question is whether I should continue to use WTSUPP or should I use EARNWT for those regressions where the explained variables are earnings related?

Additionally, I have been using WTSUPP when creating tables with the “mean” command in stata. The variables that I am finding the mean for are variables which concern transfer payments, such as incssi, incwelfr, and income variables like inctot and incwage. Should I be using EARNWT instead? Should I use the EARNWT command if I look at transfer income by sex or quintiles? Below I provide two examples of mean commands I have:

mean mthwelfr [iw=wtsupp], over(sex)

mean incssi [iw=wtsupp], over(quintile)



EARNWT should only be used if the analysis includes variables from the “earner study”, which is a subset of questions asked of earners aged 15 or older (excluding individuals in the Armed Forces and those who are self-employed) in what the Current Population Survey calls “Outgoing Rotation Groups”. The Outgoing Rotation Groups are households in either their 4th or 8th month in sample (MISH). The “earner study” is really only made up of four variables (EARNWEEK, HOURWAGE, PAIDHOUR, and UNION), so the only time you should use EARNWT is if your analysis includes one of these four variables.

I hope this helps.