Friday, September 14, 2018

Watch the Member Forum On Demand: At the Intersection of Data Science and Social Science

The proliferation of new digital data sources and the development of new programming languages that can quickly make sense of these data are changing the nature of how public policy makers and the general public understand how government works – and when it doesn’t. This discussion focused on the road ahead for data and social science, how to communicate better when the lanes merge, and what this all means for getting to better-informed policies and programs that improve public well-being.

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Recent COPAFS Meeting Discusses Use of Administrative Data

The Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS) recently held its quarterly meeting in Washington, DC. COPAFS represents more than 300,000 researchers, educators, public health professionals, civic groups, and businesses that rely on the guality and accessibility of statistics effectively collected by the federal government. APPAM is a member of this organization and several APPAM members were in attendance.

At the meeting, speakers discussed how administrative data - records on individuals, households, or businesses pertaining to participation in a program or other transactions – are being considered as an adjunct to or substitute for more costly survey data. Their linkage for research purposes promises to reveal undiscovered relationships among programs and is a boon to program evaluation. However, there are significant challenges to using such administrative data, including maintenance of privacy and inconsistencies within the data. The theme of this COPAFS Quarterly Meeting was the availability and use of administrative data for statistical and research purposes.

All four presentations from the meeting are available in PDF format from COPAFS:

Shelly Wilkie Martinez, Statistical and Science Policy, OIRA U.S. Office of Management and Budget
Federal Guidance on Statistical Use of Administrative Data

Rich Lucas, Acting Deputy Administrator for Policy Support, Food and Nutrition Service
Challenges and Rewards of Research with Nutrition Assistance Program Data

Andy Shatto, Director, Data Development and Services Group, CMS
CMS Program Data

Barry Johnson, Acting Director, IRS Statistics of Income Division
Presentation to the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics

Thanks to Shelly Ver Ploeg for her contributions to this report.

 

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