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Public Use Microdata: Disclosure And Usefulness

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  • Sang V Nguyen
  • Robert H Mcguckin

Abstract

Official statistical agencies such as the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics collect enormous quantities of microdata in statistical surveys. These data are valuable for economic research and market and policy analysis. However, the data cannot be released to the public because of confidentiality commitments to individual respondents. These commitments, coupled with the strong research demand for microdata, have led the agencies to consider various proposals for releasing public use microdata. Most proposals for public use microdata call for the development of surrogate data that disguise the original data. Thus, they involve the addition of measurement errors to the data. In this paper, we examine disclosure issues and explore alternative masking methods for generating panels of useful economic microdata that can be released to researchers. While our analysis applies to all confidential microdata, applications using the Census Bureau's Longitudinal Research Data Base (LRD) are used for illustrative purposes throughout the discussion.

Suggested Citation

  • Sang V Nguyen & Robert H Mcguckin, 1988. "Public Use Microdata: Disclosure And Usefulness," Working Papers 88-3, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:88-3
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/1988/CES-WP-88-03.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Frank R. Lichtenberg & Donald Siegel, 1987. "Productivity and Changes in Ownership of Manufactoring Plants," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3, Specia), pages 643-684.
    2. Edward Kokkelenberg & Sang Nguyen, 1989. "Modeling technical progress and total factor productivity: A plant level example," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 21-42, March.
    3. Solow, John L, 1987. "The Capital-Energy Complementarity Debate Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 605-614, September.
    4. Robert H Mcguckin & George A Pascoe, 1988. "The Longitudinal Research Database (LRD): Status And Research Possibilities," Working Papers 88-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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    Cited by:

    1. Charles G. Renfro, 2009. "The Practice of Econometric Theory," Advanced Studies in Theoretical and Applied Econometrics, Springer, number 978-3-540-75571-5, enero-jun.
    2. Mark D. Flood & Jonathan Katz & Stephen J. Ong & Adam Smith, 2013. "Cryptography and the economics of supervisory information: balancing transparency and confidentiality," Working Papers (Old Series) 1312, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    3. Douglas J. Elliott & Greg Feldberg & Andreas Lehnert, 2013. "The History of Cyclical Macroprudential Policy in the United States," Working Papers 13-08, Office of Financial Research, US Department of the Treasury.
    4. Robert H Mcguckin, 1990. "Longitudinal Economic Data At The Census Bureau: A New Database Yields Fresh Insight On Some Old Issues," Working Papers 90-1, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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