Public Use Microdata: Disclosure And Usefulness
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.
|Date of creation:||Sep 1988|
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