Assignment: Find a news article, policy brief (e.g., from the Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics or think tanks like the Urban Institute or Mathematica), or academic study that discusses a recent issue related to inequality. The article must contain a statistical claim you can verify using variables contained in the Current Population Survey’s (CPS) Annual Socioeconomic Supplement (ASEC). The CPS is the dataset from which government statistics – like the monthly unemployment report – are collected. The ASEC contains more detailed economic data than the normal CPS. Instructions on how to access these data and get them into STATA is on the second page of this assignment. You may want to go to the website and see the variables you have access to before you pick an article to fact check.
Your task is to: 1) summarize the article and the fact you will verify; 2) use the CPS to verify or refute the fact and construct a figure illustrating what you found; and 3) summarize whether you think the original article used the statistic appropriately. Importantly, you may both verify an article’s claim and think the statistic was used inappropriately. An example would be if the article said male wages increased by a certain percent but you find out that this is true only if you look at nominal wages – you might think real wages would have been more appropriate.
Directions: Turn this in through the Canvas Portal by 11:59PM on September 27th, 2020. The rubric below highlights grading requirements. Please submit your paper as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf. You should make sure you follow all of the figure guidelines provided in the separate PDF.
Criteria Possible Points
The paper accurately summarizes your article and the statistic that you are going to try to fact check and is typo free, and the appropriate length. 4
You make it clear whether you verified or refuted the statistic, and have a figure supporting that claim that is appropriately formatted and sourced. 4
You discuss and provide reasoning behind the appropriateness/inappropriateness of the statistic used. 2

Instructions for Accessing CPS ASEC Data
1. To start, go to and click on “Visit Site” for the IPUMS Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is the government survey where key economic parameters like the unemployment rate are estimated from. At this time, click on “Log In” in top right corner and register yourself. If you have trouble, let me know. This registration will likely also be useful for other short papers and your final paper.
2. Once registered, click on “Get Data” under “Create an Extract.”
3. The first thing you need to do is pick a year (or years) from which to get variables. Click “Select Samples,” in the upper left of the screen and choose only the ASEC for the years you are interested in (you may need to unclick other samples it has preselected for you, including some “basic monthly”). The ASEC is the “Annual Socioeconomic Supplement” asked each March. You should see that in your “Data Cart” you have as many samples as you picked ASEC years.
4. From the Data Cart, click on “Add Variables.” Browse through the variables you have access to under the “Person” tab of “Select Variables.” You will see the ASEC has a variety of info related to work, income, poverty, and health insurance coverage. There is also Core data on race, education, gender, etc. Click on a subcategory of variables to see the specific options you have. For example, if you wanted to know someone’s education, you would go to “Core” “Education” and select Educ99. Or, if you wanted to know earned income, you would go to “ASEC” “Income” and select Incwage.
5. Once you have selected any variables you needed, click on “View Cart” to make sure you have them all. Notice the dataset automatically adds some variables (e.g., the year). Then click “Create Data Extract.” Make sure the data format is STATA (.dta) and the structure is “Retangular.” Click “Submit Extract.”
6. You will be able to download your dataset as a .gz compressed file. If you have a PC you will need to download a program called “7-Zip” to extract the data. If a MAC, you should be able to just double-click. After extracting the .dta file, you can open the data in STATA. I recommend writing a do file for your verification exercise, in case something happens and you need to pick up where you left off, you can quickly replicate it.

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