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The Use of Administrative Sources for Economic Statistics An Overview. Steven Vale Office for National Statistics UK. Contents. Definitions Advantages of using administrative data Common problems Quality of administrative data Using administrative data in practice Conclusions.
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The Use of Administrative Sources for Economic StatisticsAn Overview Steven Vale Office for National Statistics UK
Contents • Definitions • Advantages of using administrative data • Common problems • Quality of administrative data • Using administrative data in practice • Conclusions
Administrative sources are sources containing information which is not primarily collected for statistical purposes.
Reasons for this Definition • Privatisation of some government functions • Growth of private sector “value-added re-sellers” • User interest in new types of data
Benefits of Administrative Data • Cost • Surveys / censuses are expensive, administrative data are often “free” • Response burden • Reduced burden on data suppliers • Statistics can be compiled more frequently with no extra burden
Benefits of Administrative Data • Coverage • Full coverage of target population • No survey errors and lower non-response • Better small-area data • Timeliness (sometimes!) • Public image • Making use of existing data can enhance the prestige of a statistical organisation by making it seem more efficient
Population Census Costs2000-2001 • UK, €367m, €6.2 per person • Austria, €56m, €6.9 per person • Finland, €0.8m, €0.2 per person Source: Eurostat – Documentation of the 2000 round of population and Housing censuses in the EU, EFTA and Candidate Countries; Table 22
Common Problems • Administrative units do not always coincide with statistical units • Conversion via automatic rules for simple cases • Profiling for more complex cases • Gives a better understanding of complex business structures • Expensive and needs trained staff
Common Problems • Different definitions and classifications • Administrative and statistical priorities are often different • Conversion matrices needed for different classifications • Timeliness • Data arrive too late • Data relate to a different time period
VAT Birth Lags • 2/3 of businesses are on the register within 2 months of start-up • Mean lag = 4 months due to “outliers” • Median = Approx. 40 days • Some pre-register - negative lags
Common Problems • Change management • Risk of changes in government policy, thresholds, definitions, coverage etc. • Need contingency plans • Data from multiple sources • Matching / linking issues • Data conflicts – priority rules
Quality of Administrative Data • There are many aspects to quality • Administrative data will be better than survey data in some aspects but not in others • It is important to look at overall quality • Do the data meet the needs of users?
Three Aspects of Quality • Quality of incoming data • Quality of processing(matching, merging, ...) • Quality of outputs - likely to be different to survey based outputs, but are they better?
Quality Measurement • How to measure the quality of data from administrative sources? • Comparing sources • Quality check surveys • Knowledge of source (metadata) • Quality reports / templates
Using Administrative Data • Conversion to statistical concepts and definitions • Linking / Matching • Exact Matching - linking records from two or more sources, often using common identifiers • Probabilistic Matching - determining the probability that records from different sources should match, using a combination of variables
Examples of Satellite Registers • Tourism - hotel register (category, number of beds) • Transport - vehicle or ship register (type, capacity) • Distributive trades - buildings register (building size, sales area)
Conclusions • Administrative sources should be defined in the widest sense • There are many benefits in using administrative data, particularly reduced costs • There are problems when using administrative data, but usually someone has found a solution
Conclusions • Most problems can be reduced by effective planning and detailed knowledge of the source • The benefits are often greater than the costs
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