Most people think that, when academics meet, they discuss obscure topics of interest to nobody else. If you are curious, you will be surprised at what you can learn. Academics have to be professionally curious, both in order to do worthwhile research and so that today’s students are prepared with ideas newer than those taught to their parents.
At a recent meeting of 11,000 of my best friends from around the world, there were lots of obscure discussions. One of the panel discussions focused on the use of administrative data for research purposes.
Administrative data is stuff which is collected as a by-product of a government implementing a policy, as opposed to the data collected by a statistical agency for statistical purposes ( ). The push for Open Data is the most obvious example whose benefits are starting to be realized as a way to keep governments accountable.
Administrative data has real advantages over a common alternative. Continue reading