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DATABASES FOR MICROSIMULATION: A COMPARISON OF THE MARCH CPS AND SIPP 45 Expenditures The March CPS does not obtain data on relevant expenditures, such as day care or work-related expenses, that are allowed by income support programs to be deducted from the household's nontransfer income to determine eligibility for benefits. The models address this problem in several ways, for example, by imputing child care expenses using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. In contrast, SIPP asks about expenditures that are relevant to modeling income support programs such as AFDC and food stamps (the MATH model uses SIPP for imputing child care expenses). Beginning with the 1987 panel, there is a topical module in either wave four or seven (called the âprogram eligibilityâ module) that includes virtually all of the variables needed to determine eligibility for SSI, food stamps, and AFDC, including work disability, assets, shelter expenses, medical care expenses, and dependent care expenses. Prior to 1987, not all of these items were included, and they were not all asked at the same time period. Ideally, these questions would be asked more frequently; nonetheless, they are available in the SIPP but not in the CPS. Extended Familie s The CPS is a survey of households defined as the residents at a particular address. There is no attempt to identify people, such as absent parents or other relatives, who do not reside at the address but who do or could be expected to share economic resources with the resident household members. Hence, CPS is not at all suited for analysis of program units that involve nonhousehold members, such as tax units that include dependents residing elsewhere, or for analysis of child support enforcement programs that require information on noncustodial parents. At present, the income-support program models do not address this problem in defining tax or transfer program filing units. SIPP is better adapted for analysis of issues such as child support enforcementâwhich are growing in importanceâbecause of the longitudinal nature of the survey. For example, if a divorce or separation occurs, both parties will be followed to the extent feasible, and, hence, information will be available that permits linking the custodial parent with the noncustodial parent. Less information will be available in the case of families that split up prior to the first wave, because only one or the other party will be included in the sample. For such cases, there is information about marital and childbearing history that ma y be relevant and about child support payments received (or paid), but not about the economic situation of the omitted party. Other Variables for Related Policy Issues As noted above, there has been and continues to be increasing policy interest in linking income support programs with other programs, such as child support