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Peter Lanjouw (LIS and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), and Nobuo Yoshida (World Bank)

Collecting data to estimate monetary poverty in low-income countries and fragile states is a challenging task. This note discusses ways of compiling consumption or income data from the perspective of data quality and sample size. Lanjouw and Yoshida describe two approaches that apply survey-to-survey imputation techniques aimed at saving interview time and data collection costs. These new approaches draw attention to recent exploration of imputation methods as a means to improving the quality and increasing the availability of distributional data at the country level.

Full article is available here.

Sarah L. Kostecki (University of Luxembourg)

In the work-family policy literature a debate persists about whether generous work-family reconciliation policies promotes women’s employment, but have adverse consequences for women’s attainment. In this article, Kostecki presents seven new, disaggregated, precise, and multidimensional indicators for leave and ECEC across 24 high-income countries and relationships among the indicators. In a second step, she then evaluates the relationships between the policy dimensions and gender gaps in employment and annual earnings.

Full article is available here.

Dear readers,

I am delighted to be writing to you as the new LIS Director. It is enormously exciting to be stepping in the shoes of Daniele Checchi whose five years in charge have left LIS more visible, respected and relevant than ever. I am grateful for the trust and confidence that has been put in me by Daniele, the LIS team, and by Francois Bourguignon and the entire ASBL. I am honored too, to be following in the footsteps of previous directors Janet Gornick, Markus Jantti, and founders Tim Smeeding and Lee Rainwater. I look forward to forging good working relations with the LIS team and hope to take advantage of the reasonably close proximity of my home town, Amsterdam, to Esch-Belval in order to become a regular face also in the corridors of the LIS office in Luxembourg.

The LIS Directorship was perhaps not the most immediately obvious step in my career. After 23 years in the research department of the World Bank, I have been teaching economics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam since early 2015. I am a development economist and have been focused on development issues throughout my career. However, analyzing and measuring economic wellbeing in low income countries has been a central focus of my research throughout the past three decades. I have been heavily exposed to the challenges and opportunities that household survey data embody. I have been involved in the study of issues surrounding data harmonization, and I have actively participated in the exploration of methods to strengthen data comparability. From that perspective, the move to LIS with its mission to disseminate high quality, harmonized, household survey data, makes a good deal of sense. I am thrilled to come on board for this reason.

I hope, moreover, that my experience and background in development may also be helpful given the particular juncture that LIS finds itself at. There is steadily increasing flow of datasets from low and middle-income countries entering into the LIS archives. Whether, and how, to harmonize these with the core LIS data, are important questions. There clearly exists demand for an ability to conduct cross-country comparisons, along a variety of dimensions, involving both developed and developing countries. But as the range of countries in terms of levels of economic development, widens, the underlying data also become increasingly diverse in terms of quality, structure, and composition. Fundamental questions, such as the definition of income, consumption and wealth have to be revisited. New harmonization methods may need to be experimented with. Judgement calls have to be made. We need to reflect on how LIS can best navigate these new opportunities. I hope to contribute to that reflection.

As ideas develop, we will be looking to air them in our LIS newsletter. I hope that you will also convey to us your thoughts and reactions. It promises to be an exciting time!

Peter Lanjouw

LIS is happy to announce the following data updates:

  • Georgia – Annualisation of the country series from 2009-2019 for the LIS Database
    (8 new datasets and 3 revised)

  • SwitzerlandCH18 added to the LIS Database (1 new dataset)
  • United Kingdom – UK94 / UK95 (LIS Database), minor refinements have been carried out on the household composition variables.
  • Germany – update of previous data points in the LWS Database using the latest version of GSOEP data release.

  Click on each hyperlinked item to access more details on the newly added and revised datasets


LIS recently added to its complementary databases section a new dataset on Leave and ECEC policy dimensions for use with the Luxembourg Income Study Database. This dataset, assembled by Sarah L. Kostecki, includes country-level policy indicators on leave and early childhood education and care (ECEC) for 31 countries: 24 high-income countries and seven middle-income countries (Latin America) based on policy and ECEC utilization information compiled from international organizations and country-specific sources. The 21 country-level leave and ECEC policy dimension indicators in this dataset are categorized into four policy dimension groups. The indicators measure three dimensions of leave policy (generosity, gender equality, and universality) and one dimension of ECEC policy (generosity, measured by enrollment rates of children in ECEC). Four country identifier indicators are also included in the dataset for a total of 25 indicators. The year selections of the country-level policy information used to construct the indicators are from between the years 2009 to 2013.

Users can access the data and its documentation from here.

This year’s winner of the LIS Aldi Award is Nora Waitkus for the LWS Working Paper No. 33 entitled “The Wealth Inequality of Nations.” Nora is a sociologist currently working at the London School of Economics, International Inequalities Institute; she was twice a visiting scholar at LIS. She will present the winning paper at the upcoming LIS Virtual Summer Workshop in July.

Nora co-authored this paper with Fabian T. Pfeffer. The Aldi Award is granted to the writer under age 40, whose LIS or LWS Working Paper from the previous year best demonstrates the qualities of sound scholarship.

LIS is happy to invite you to the 2021 LIS Virtual Summer Lecture on the topic of “Extraordinary times, extraordinary measures: A Review of Methods to Address Data Deprivation in Developing Countries”
By: Professor Peter Lanjouw (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Discussant: Professor Philippe Van Kerm (Luxemburg Institute of Socio-economic Research (LISER)/ University of Luxembourg)
Time: Tuesday, July 6th, 2021 [Luxembourg Local Time: 17:30-18:30]

Lecture Abstract

How can developing countries measure and assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic shocks on distributional outcomes, while data collection is costly – often involving many millions of dollars per household survey? In this lecture, Professor Peter Lanjouw sheds some light on alternative data collection procedures; namely via survey-to-survey (S2S) imputation techniques. These techniques can help to promote the expansion of high-frequency poverty data in developing countries – a particularly pressing need in light of scarce resources and massive informational needs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: those who have been accepted in the 2021 LIS Virtual Summer Workshop, do not need to register for the Summer Lecture as it is part of the workshop schedule.

Register here

Petra Sauer, (Luxembourg Institute of Socio-economic Research (LISER) / Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and Research Institute Economics of Inequality (INEQ), Vienna University of Economics and Business), and Philippe Van Kerm, (Luxembourg Institute of Socio-economic Research (LISER) and University of Luxembourg)

Tertiary education has been expanding in the second half of the 20th century worldwide, and particularly in high-income countries. In a study conducted within the framework of the (LIS)2ER project Petra Sauer and Philippe Van Kerm examined LIS data for 27 countries between 1995 and 2015 to describe how the distribution of labour incomes earned by tertiary and non-tertiary educated workers compare and, accordingly, what educational expansion potentially implies for labour income inequality.

Full article is available here.

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