The goal of this application is to develop a research network for "Harmonization of cross-national studies of aging to the Health and Retirement Study (HRS)." This network will support the development of new international studies with harmonized data, maintain harmonization and data development among existing comparable studies, and develop a cross-national research agenda. Harmonization of cross-national studies of aging to the HRS is one of the specific targeted emerging research areas identified under the PAR-09-233 Network Infrastructure Support for Emerging Behavioral and Social Research Areas in Aging. To foster cross-national studies of aging, we propose to develop a research network, bringing together leading scientists, data producers, and users of the HRS family of surveys. Through the proposed network support activities, we will accomplish the following five aims:
(Aim 1) Organize an annual harmonization meeting, bringing together the principal investigators of all HRS-family surveys. The purpose of these meetings will be to maintain and improve harmonization among existing HRS-family surveys and to support development of new HRS-like surveys.
(Aim 2) Document the comparability, prepare harmonized measures, and provide training on the HRS family of surveys. Using the HRS User Guides and the RAND HRS documentation as a model, we will prepare documentation about the concepts, measures, and questions in each HRS-family survey as well as on their comparability in seven specific domains (e.g,, labor force participation and retirement, chronic diseases).
(Aim 3) Support small-scale pilots for establishing cross-national comparability.
(Aim 4) Create network opportunities for users of the HRS family of surveys through biennial user conferences and the Internet discussion board, and provide technical support for users.
(Aim 5) Disseminate the resources developed for harmonization (e.g., user manuals, conference proceedings) and the findings from cross national studies using the HRS family of surveys through public websites including those of RAND and each of the surveys.
The proposed research network activities will facilitate harmonization of the HRS family of surveys and cross-national studies on aging, health, and retirement. These network activities will provide immediate benefits for the producers and users of the HRS family of surveys and broader benefits for the entire research community.