Under the current R01, the Survey Meta Data Repository was developed to facilitate cross-country analyses using the family of Health and Retirement Studies. The repository currently contains: (1) metadata from and searchable concordance information on eleven surveys from 25 countries and (2) harmonized data files for six surveys, that are constructed as user-friendly, individual-level longitudinal data merged with key household and spouse-level variables with a set of identically defined variables built for cross-country analysis. Specifically, metadata are available from the following eleven surveys: the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS), the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing (ELSA), the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS), the Korean Longitudinal Study on Aging (KLoSA), the Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE), the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), the Longitudinal Study of Aging in India (LASI), the Japanese Study of Aging and Retirement (JSTAR), and The Irish LongituDinal study of Ageing (TILDA). The harmonized data files are available for: HRS, ELSA, SHARE, KLoSA, CHARLS, and LASI. In this revision application, we propose three aims. First, we propose to expand the current harmonized datasets by including MHAS, JSTAR, and TILDA. While the parent R01 seeks to add newly available metadata from MHAS, JSTAR and TILDA, it does not cover creating harmonized variables for these studies. Second, we will compare the imputation strategies currently employed by HRS and ELSA to better understand their implications on resulting distributions and impute missing values for economic variables of CHARLS and JSTAR, both of which do not provide imputation for missing economic data. Finally, we seek to expand the repository by including the Costa Rican Longevity and Healthy Aging Study (CRELES). CRELES is a set of nationally representative longitudinal surveys of health and life-course experiences of older Costa Ricans. In its design, CRELES was developed to ensure comparability with HRS and MHAS, and thereby enable better understanding of aging in the Americas. Since we launched the site in 2011, we have had 12,070 unique visitors, a total of 20,604 visits, 685 registered users, and 203,505 page views. This record of visits suggests a great potential for public use, especially given the tripling in the number of total visits and the doubling in the number of registered users in the past year. With the proposed expansion, the repository will help even larger numbers of researchers who are interested in studying Mexico, Japan, Ireland, and Costa Rica, as well as those interested in cross-country analyses of health, retirement, and aging in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe, or across the continents.

Public Health Relevance

The Survey Meta Data Repository facilitates cross-country analyses on aging, health, and retirement by providing a comprehensive digital library of survey questions, a set of harmonized variables, and tools to search, compare, and obtain the information from 11 health and retirement surveys in 25 countries. In this application, we propose to further expand the Repository by creating harmonized datasets for newly available survey data from Mexico, Japan, Ireland, and Costa Rica, and to enhance the quality of economic data through imputation of missing values. The proposed expansion and improvement will help numerous interested researchers and thereby accelerate the pace of scientific innovation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (SSPA)
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Phillips, John
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University of Southern California
Other Domestic Higher Education
Los Angeles
United States
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