1504.0 - Methodological News, Sep 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/09/2009   
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Attendance at the 2009 Small Area Estimation Conference in Elche, Spain

The 2009 Conference on Small Area Estimation (SAE2009) was held in the historic Spanish town of Elche on 29 June - 1 July 2009. The small area estimation conferences are run biannually with SAE2009 being the third. Janice Scealy (ABS/ANU) and Daniel Elazar (ABS) attended the conference. The goals of these conferences are to provide an international forum for discussing the latest theoretical and methodological developments in SAE as well as applications of SAE methods in research and official statistics. There were 105 delegates to SAE2009 representing a good blend of academic and official statisticians.

The conference programme included sessions on SAE in Official Statistics, Small Area Estimation for Business Surveys, Poverty Mapping, Spatial and Temporal Methods, and Robust and Non Parametric Methods in SAE. Daniel Elazar presented a paper on Small Area Estimates of Labour Force Status in Australia, while Janice Scealy gave a paper on the use of multinomial logit mixed model with category specific random effects.

There were several interesting talks, including the plenary session given by Prof Malay Ghosh, on benchmarking small area estimates to available totals, whether they be survey estimates at a state or broader regional level (internal) or relevant administrative data counts not used in the small area model (external). Dr Pedro Silva, who is on sabbatical to the University of Southampton, gave an illuminating talk on an assessment of poverty mapping procedures used by the World Bank with application to household income in Brazil. Dr Li Chun Zhang, from Statistics Norway, gave a talk on statistical issues in accounting for stochastic error in administrative data sources when compiling small area estimates directly from administrative sources.

One of the last sessions was a panel discussion on future directions in research and applications of small area estimation. Two major small area projects have recently commenced in the European Union. The first is the Small Area Methods Poverty and Living Conditions Estimates (SAMPLE) which is a collaboration of universities in Italy, Spain and the UK. The second project is called Advanced Methodology for Methods for European Laeken Indicators(AMELI) and is a collaboration between universities in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Slovenia and Estonia. One of the main objectives of AMELI is to produce standard regional indicators on poverty and social exclusion.

For more information, please contact Daniel Elazar on (02) 6252 6962 or daniel.elazar@abs.gov.au, or Janice Scealy on (02) 6252 5764 or janice.scealy@abs.gov.au..