Expanding Access to Administrative Data for Research in the United States

4 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2011  

David Card

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Raj Chetty

Harvard University

Martin S. Feldstein

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Harvard University

Emmanuel Saez

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

We argue that the development and expansion of direct, secure access to administrative micro-data should be a top priority for the NSF. Administrative data offer much larger sample sizes and have far fewer problems with attrition, non-response, and measurement error than traditional survey data sources. Administrative data are therefore critical for cutting-edge empirical research, and particularly for credible public policy evaluation. Although a number of agencies have successful programs to provide access to administrative data - most notably the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - the United States generally lags far behind other countries in making data available to researchers. We discuss the value of administrative data using examples from recent research in the United States and abroad. We then outline a plan to develop incentives for agencies to broaden data access for scientific research based on competition, transparency, and rewards for producing socially valuable scientific output.

Suggested Citation

Card, David E. and Chetty, Raj and Feldstein, Martin S. and Saez, Emmanuel, Expanding Access to Administrative Data for Research in the United States (2010). American Economic Association, Ten Years and Beyond: Economists Answer NSF's Call for Long-Term Research Agendas. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1888586 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1888586

David E. Card (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

Room 3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-642-5222 (Phone)
510-643-7042 (Fax)

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Raj Chetty

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Martin S. Feldstein

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-868-3905 (Phone)
617-868-7194 (Fax)

Harvard University ( email )

Littauer Center
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-2167 (Phone)
617-496-5444 (Fax)

Emmanuel Saez

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-642-4631 (Phone)
510-642-6615 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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