Using Administrative Data to Improve Survey Estimates

Location: ABS Office, Canberra or Brisbane preferred

Duration: 5 months

Proposed start date: April 2019

Project Background

Historically, administrative data have played a very limited role in the calculation of estimates from ABS surveys of households.  Recently, the ABS has linked survey and administrative data and so now the ABS is re-considering the role that administrative data can play in improving survey estimates. Using survey and administrative is complicated by measurement error (e.g. out-of-date address), coverage errors (e.g. people who have left Australia but who still have an administrative record) and by errors in survey-register linkage (e.g. False Positive and False Negatives). This is an active field of investigation by the ABS’ methodology Division.

Research to be Conducted

The ABS has a framework for using administrative data to improve survey estimation. This framework makes strong assumptions about the above-mentioned complications (e.g. assumes there are no False Positives and assumes that people who have a left Australia do not have an administrative record). The project work will aim to relax these assumptions by developing a framework that is more realistic. Research work would include:

  • Reviewing the statistical literature in the fields of measurement error and coverage error and review the work in these fields by the ABS and other statistical agencies.
  • Extending the current framework to include coverage errors and linkage errors
  • Propose one or more estimators within this framework and in doing so identify the key assumptions for the estimator(s) to be unbiased.
  • Conduct simulations in a range of situations to assess the proposed estimator(s)
  • Writing a paper for submission to a statistics journal

Skills Required

We are looking for someone with the following skillset:

  • Expertise in and knowledge of the literature on statistical modelling.
  • Ability to innovate and solve technical problems.
  • Suitable mathematical programming skills e.g. SAS or R.

Expected Outcomes

An improved understanding of the potential of administrative data to improve estimates from a survey will help focus ABS resources towards maximising the value of public data.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

03 April 2019


APR – 0892