Usual working hours and HRSWORKORG universe



I saw a couple of other posts on this question that provide hints to the answer to my question, but I wanted to confirm my interpratation and maybe suggest a change in Universe specification.

I am using a combination of the outgoing rotation group and January 2012 supplement to look at the impact of job tenure on wages. I would ideally like to make the dependent variable ln(hourly wages), but I’m realizing that it may not be possible to calculate an hourly wage for everyone. For those individuals who do not report an hourly wage (no value for HOURWAGE), I was thinking that I could divide EARNWEEK (usual weekly earnings) by HRSWORKORG (usual hours worked). But, I’ve found that 55% of observations that have valid EARNWEEK values have 0 for HRSWORKORG, indicating that they are not in the universe. I gather from the other posts I read that this might be due to HRSWORKORG only being asked of people who say that they are paid by the hour, although even 25% of those with PAIDHOUR=2 have zeros. But, it does seem to be linked to being paid by the hour as well since almost all those with PAIDHOUR=1 have zeros for hours. So, my conclusion from this is that my plan to divide EARNWEEK by HRSWORKORG to estimate hourly wages for non-hourly employees won’t work, since I don’t seem to be able to get usual hours for them. Two questions:

  1. Any suggestions of another way to approach this? I suppose I’ll just have to resort to making ln(weekly wages) my dependent variable, but it’s not as ideal. If I’m missing something please let me know. Maybe there’s at least a full-time vs. part-time variable I could use as a control? I think I saw a post about usual hours perhaps available from the basic monthly original CPS data (PEHRUSL1). So would that be the best approach?

  2. If the above interpretation is true, then you should change your description of the universe for the HRSWORKORG variable. At the moment it does not specify that this variable only has observations for those who are paid by the hour.




I would like to add to the question that, there is also unpluasible zeros for WKSWORKORG, even they are employed, fulltime and in MORG. Is there something I don’t see in the description or universe of the variables?





The 1880 full-count sample was originally made for genealogical purposes rather than for academic research, so many important variables like school attendance and literacy were never transcribed. These missing variables were entered for 10% of the 1880 population and are available for use on IPUMS-USA. Unfortunately, the other 90% of cases do not have literacy or school attendance information digitized.



Since 1994, usual hours worked is included as part of the basic CPS labor force questions. It appears you are using CPS samples in this post-1994 time frame; therefore, you might consider using either the variable for usual hours worked at the respondent’s main job (UHRSWORK1) or the variable for usual hours worked at all of the respondent’s jobs (UHRSWORKT).

For both the HRSWORKORG and WKSWORKORG variables, the correct universe is mentioned in the first paragraph of the variable description. You are correct, however, that we need to update the universe statements to make clear that only respondents paid hourly provide a response to HRSWORKORG and only respondents paid annually provide a response to WKSWORKORG.

Hope this helps.