Statistics and Data Directorate

OECD Conference: Assessing the feasibility of micro-data access - Luxembourg 26 - 27 October 2006



For many years now statistical institutions and analysts have relied on macro based data to study economic and social phenomena. But significant advances in computational abilities in recent decades have given both producers and users of data the ability to turn increasingly towards micro-data. More recently many statistical institutions have begun to explore ways in which they can meet this increased demand from users whilst, at the same time, meeting the requirements of non-disclosure. Being both a user and disseminator of data, the OECD sits in both camps; recognising the importance of preserving confidentiality whilst at the same time recognising the considerable benefits that analysis of micro-data can provide to policy and analysis, particularly, now, in the face of a rapidly changing and increasingly interconnected global environment.  It is with these needs in mind that the OECD recently launched a study to investigate the feasibility of the OECD becoming a Centre for micro-data. That is not to say that the OECD will itself become a repository of micro-data, merely that the OECD, recognises the importance of improving its own access to micro-data whilst at the same time sharing best practices with national statistical institutes that can encourage, assist, and motivate them to make micro-data available more widely, whilst all the while maintaining the integrity of their own statistical systems and legal requirements.


The purpose of this Conference is therefore twofold:

(i) The first objective is to explore with countries ways in which they could make data available to the OECD for use in its own analyses, thus allowing, for the first time in many areas, international comparisons that provide the basis for policy measures in national ministries. This information will form a key input into the OECD’s feasibility study that will be presented at the 2007 meeting of the OECD’s Statistics Committee.

(ii) The second objective is to provide a forum where countries and institutions are able to share the methods they have used, or are developing, to disseminate micro-data as a means to allow countries to share best practice in this field, especially in the context of preserving confidentiality, and so widening the international reach of comparable micro-data statistics.



Thursday 26 October, 14:15 - 17:30

Session 1: 14:15 -14:30

Opening of the Conference: Nadim Ahmad, OECD
Background and Objectives of the Conference: Nadim Ahmad, OECD
Presentation (PowerPoint)

Session 2: 14:30 - 17:15
Motivation: Applications of micro-data:  Benefits of micro-data for analysts and policy makers:

1. A model for Accessing Firm-Level Data and some recent international evidence on 
   productivity heterogeneity: Eric Bartelsman,Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Tinbergen
   Institute.  Presentation (PowerPoint) 

2. Micro-data in the European Central Bank: Francesco Strobbe, ECB.
    Presentation (PowerPoint)

3. How do public policies affect individual households? Design and uses of EUROMOD, an
    EU-wide tax/benefit model: Herwig Immervoll, OECD.  Presentation (PowerPoint) 

4. Luxembourg Income Study Applications: Thierry Kruten, Luxembourg Income Study.
    Presentation (PowerPoint)

5. Entrepreneurship and micro-data: Tim Davis, OECD.  Presentation (PowerPoint)

6. Access to microdata: Experience from using data for agricultural policy analysis: Catherine Moreddu, OECD. Presentation (PowerPoint)

Session 3:  17:15 -18:00
Micro-data access in practice. Examples of micro-data access in a national and international context: remote access, safe centres, one-off applications, survey approaches.

United Kingdom: Felix Ritchie, Office for National Statistics
                         Presentation (PowerPoint)              

Luxembourg Income Study: Thierry Kruten
                                         Presentation (PowerPoint)

Friday 27 October, 09:30 - 17:30

Session 3:  9:30 -12:30
Micro-data access in practice. Examples of micro-data access in a national and international context: remote access, safe centres, one-off applications, survey approaches.

Australia: Teresa Dickinson, Australian Bureau of Statistics 
               Presentation (PowerPoint)

Denmark: Lars Borchsenius, Statistics Denmark
               Working Paper (pdf), Presentation (PowerPoint)

Finland: Satu Nurmi, Statistics Finland
             Working Paper (pdf), Presentation (PowerPoint)

Norway: Atle Alvheim, Norwegian Social Science Data Services
             Points (pdf), Presentation (PowerPoint)

Participants will be asked to provide a brief 5 minute overview of on-going developments with micro-data access in their country, differentiating between social and economic, especially business, micro-data.

Greece (pdf)
Japan (pdf)
Korea (PowerPoint)
Russia (pdf)

12:30 -14:00 – Lunch

Session 4: 14:00 -14:30
Information Session: The OECD Questionnaire on micro-data; synthesis and conclusions (pdf)
Presentation (PowerPoint)
Nadim Ahmad, OECD

Session 5: 14:30 -15:45
Discussion Session: The OECD feasibility study, reviewing the five options, focusing on legal and technological constraints. Participants will be asked to consider the feasibility of each of the options presented by the OECD in the context of their own country’s position.
Presentation (PowerPoint)
Nadim Ahmad, OECD

Session 6:  16:00 -17:00
Moving forward and developing an action plan.

Presentation by the OECD
Launching a pilot study on remote access (pdf)
Presentation (PowerPoint)
Giuseppe Bruno, Italian Central Bank / Nadim Ahmad, OECD 

Concluding Comments:  17:00 -17:30

Background Papers:

The analysis of microdata from an international perspective (pdf)
OECD Conference on, and feasibility study of, Microdata (pdf)
Remote Access Systems for Statistical Analysis of Microdata (pdf)
MONA-Microdata On-Line access at statistics Sweden (pdf)
Managing Statistical Confidentiality and Microdata Access - Principles and Guidelines of Good Practice (pdf)
Guidelines and core principles for managing statistical confidentiality and microdata access (pdf)
An Examination of Monitored, Remote Microdata Access Systems (pdf)
Recent Confidentiality Research Related to Access to Enterprise Microdata (pdf)

Confirmed Participants List (xls)

Useful Links

Central Bureau of Statistics site on microdata disclosure techniques
CAED - Comparative analysis of Enterprise micro data
Statistics Sweden 2003 workshop on micro- data
Eurostat’s micro-data access site
UNECE: 2003 Conference on Statistical Confidentiality
UNECE: 2005 Conference on Statistical Confidentiality


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