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Friday 17th July, 13:00 - 14:30 Room: HT-103

The Challenges of Survey and Administrative Data Linkage

Convenor Dr Tarek Mostafa (UCL Institute of Education )

Session Details

Surveys face significant challenges due to the rise in survey costs, attrition over time, and non-coverage of the target population. All these challenges have the potential of damaging the quality of the collected data. One method of reducing the costs of data collection and improving quality is to link selected individual administrative information to the survey record. Administrative data linkage leads to shorter interviews, less respondent burden and an overall reduction in costs, in addition to the gain of valuable information on respondents. However, access to administrative records will suffer from non-consent whenever respondents refuse permission to link their records, and non-linkage when it is impossible to link the records even though consent was given.

This session provides a series of original investigations on consent and linkage of survey and administrative data. The first two papers deal with consent in the context of longitudinal and panel surveys. The third paper explores consent to administrative data linkage in the context of a sequential mixed-mode survey. The fourth examines the success in linking housing data from survey, administrative, and commercial sources, and finally the fifth presents evidence from a feasibility study on linking health data from three different sources.

Paper Details

1. Enhancing research on health. A feasibility study on linking data from cancer Registries, survey and administrative data in Italy
Mr Roberto Lillini (Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale, Università di Milano Bicocca)
Dr Emanuela Sala (Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale, Università di Milano Bicocca)
Professor Francesco La Rosa (Università di Perugia)

In this paper we report findings from a feasibility study carried out in the Umbria region in Italy. The aim of the study is to create a unique dataset that includes detailed information on people’s health and socio-economic conditions based on the linkage of three data sources, (i) the Cancer registry, (ii) survey data from the Italian Statistical Institute (ISTAT) and (iii) administrative data held by the local Municipalities of the Umbria region. Note that, in this latter case, all local Municipalities were contacted and asked for the relevant information, as these data are not held by a

2. Record Linkage of Survey, Administrative, and Commercial Housing Data: Challenges and Potential Solutions
Dr Quentin Brummet (US Census Burea)

This paper considers matching of housing data from three separate data sources: the American Housing Survey, data obtained from a commercial vendor, and administrative records from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. We document characteristics of both addresses and housing units that are associated with lower match rates. The results show clear geographic variation in match rates, and that units in multi-unit structures tend to match at lower rates. We discuss potential improvements to the existing address match process that lead to higher match rates and demonstrate the potential benefits and drawbacks of these new changes.

3. Collecting data linkage consents in a sequential mixed-mode survey: challenges and solutions
Miss Marie Thornby (Centre for Longitudinal Studies, UCL Institute of Education)
Miss Lisa Calderwood (Centre for Longitudinal Studies, UCL Institute of Education)
Mr Mehul Kotecha (NatCen Social Research)

Asking research participants for their consent to add information from administrative records to their survey responses is now a common feature of many surveys, due to the enormous potential value it can offer.

However, collecting consents from research participants in the context of a sequential, mixed mode survey is new ground and there is relatively little literature which offers robust evidence about the optimal approach to take.

This paper charts our experience of implementing a wide-range of data linkage consents for the Next Steps Age 25 Survey which uses a sequential, mixed mode design, involving web, telephone and face-

4. Timing and Consequences of Record Linkage in Panel Studies
Mr Philipp Simon Eisnecker (Socio-Economic Panel, DIW Berlin)
Professor Martin Kroh (Socio-Economic Panel, DIW Berlin)

Although the linkage of survey and administrative data provides distinct advantages, the implementation of the necessary informed consent may undermine response stability in longitudinal surveys. We conducted an experiment that allows us to make causal claims about the consequences of consent requests on longitudinal response behavior. Respondents from a SOEP refreshment sample were randomly assigned to three treatment groups: The first group was asked for their consent in wave 1, the second group in wave 2, the third group was asked in wave 1 and in wave 2 if necessary, and a control group was never queried for their permission.

5. How Consistent is Consent Behaviour to Administrative Data Linkage Over Time?
Dr Tarek Mostafa (UCL Institute of Education)

This study constitutes the first longitudinal exploration of consent to link survey and administrative data. It relies on a theoretical framework distinguishing between passive, active, consistent and inconsistent consent behaviour. The findings show that in general consent behaviours are passive and consistent. On the one hand, the majority of respondents in the Millennium Cohort Study have a consent behaviour which is consistent over time. On the other hand, the likelihood of giving consent and the likelihood of switching behaviour over time depend on extrinsic factors and is characterised by respondent passiveness.