COPAFS Projects

Linking Federal Data on Agriculture: A Workshop

A Project of the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, October 2, 2015

Project Information Page:  Read More 

Increasing Researcher Access to Federal Administrative Data:

A Project of the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics

Project Information Page:  Read More 

AEA Session on Administrative Data, January 4, 2015

Increasing Researcher Access to Federal Administrative Data:  Rewards, Risk, and Demand

Panel Abstract:

The policy relevance of social science research could be increased substantially with better access to administrative records on federal government program participants or those who report to government entities. It has been argued that administrative data are critical to the evaluation of public programs, and provide the means by which to better understand socio-economic behavior. Advantages of using administrative data over survey data for research include the larger number of observations, inherently longitudinal structures, the higher quality data contained in administrative files, deep coverage of local areas, and opportunity for novel research design. Linkages of administrative data sets with one another and/or with survey data promise a new frontier in public policy evaluation and development. Yet, there is a relative paucity of economic studies utilizing administrative data for American public policy illumination. Most federal micro-level administrative data is difficult for researchers to obtain. Privacy and disclosure fears are major constraints. Presenters in this panel review the utility of administrative data and provide examples of analyses enriched by access to those data, but also provide an overview of the constraints faced by federal agencies in providing access. The panel culminates with a presentation of the results and preliminary analysis of a survey of AEA members' demand and preferences for various types of federal administrative data.

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Panel Moderator
: John Haltiwanger (University of Maryland)

John N. Friedman (Brown University) The Value of Public Administrative Data in Policy-Relevant Economic Research  (100 KB, pdf) 

Amy Finkelstein (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) The Value of Administrative Data for Randomized Evaluations  (959KB, pdf) 

Ron Jarmin (U.S. Census Bureau) Confidentiality, Privacy Protection and Other Constraints on Stewards of Public Administrative Records  (254 KB, pdf) 

Katherine R. Smith (Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics) Demand and Preferences for Access to Federal Administrative Data: Results of a Survey  (2.8 MB, pdf)