Education Research and Administrative Data

88 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2015

See all articles by David N. Figlio

David N. Figlio

Northwestern University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Krzysztof Karbownik

Northwestern University

Kjell G. Salvanes

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Thanks to extraordinary and exponential improvements in data storage and computing capacities, it is now possible to collect, manage, and analyze data in magnitudes and in manners that would have been inconceivable just a short time ago. As the world has developed this remarkable capacity to store and analyze data, so have the world's governments developed large-scale, comprehensive data files on tax programs, workforce information, benefit programs, health, and education. While these data are collected for purely administrative purposes, they represent remarkable new opportunities for expanding our knowledge. This chapter describes some of the benefits and challenges associated with the use of administrative data in education research. We also offer specific case studies of data that have been developed in both the Nordic countries and the United States, and offer an (incomplete) inventory of data sets used by social scientists to study education questions on every inhabited continent on earth.

Keywords: education research, administrative data

JEL Classification: I20

Suggested Citation

Figlio, David N. and Karbownik, Krzysztof and Salvanes, Kjell G., Education Research and Administrative Data. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9474. Available at SSRN:

David N. Figlio (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Krzysztof Karbownik

Northwestern University ( email )

Kjell G. Salvanes

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Economics ( email )

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N-5035 Bergen
+47 5 595 9315 (Phone)
+47 5 595 9543 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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