Singing IPUMS Praises

This is a late post, but I just want to sing the praises of IPUMS.

I first encountered IPUMs data in Sacerdote’s paper on intergenerational human capital transfers in which he showed literacy rates by birth cohort throughout the 19th century (figure 4 is downright beautiful). I’ve since dug-in myself concerning school attendance and human capital.

In the papers that students write in our econ elective classes, it’s not unusual for them to contain FRED data. Given that we don’t teach time-series, the papers are usually empirically weak. But this semester in my Wester Economic History course, I’ve encouraged student to utilize IPUMS. There are 4 students who are using it whose ideas I will surely publicize in the future:

  • Historical patterns of deaf employment, education, human capital, & income
  • The economic impact of the Brooklyn bridge
  • The composition of US interstate migrants relative to their host state
  • Patterns compulsory schooling

IPUMS is so darn rich. I strongly recommend it if you haven’t yet taken advantage of it.

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