5342.0 - Balance of Payments Statistics, Information Paper on Quality , 1996  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/02/1996   
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Contents >> Chapter 2. Analysis of accuracy of the statistics >> Comparison of data from different sources

2.52. There are a number of cases where statistical series, which purport to measure the same activity, are measured from different sources. One example relates to the travel debits item in the balance of payments. Indicator data to estimate travel expenditure abroad by Australian residents in current periods come from the International Travel Enterprises component of the Survey of International Trade in Services. This component collection approaches enterprises for payments made through them (prepayment through travel industry participants, Australian-issued travellers cheques and plastic cards, and cash). To provide benchmarks for this collection, the ABS periodically conducts a Survey of Returned Australian Travellers which approaches a sample of resident individuals returning to Australia (identified from passenger cards) for details of their expenditure abroad. Each of the two estimates of travel expenditure abroad can be expected to provide some insights into the accuracy of the other.

2.53. Further examples can be drawn from data collected in the ABS Survey of Foreign Investment where some data items can be compared with selected foreign assets and liabilities information reported in other collections, such as the ABS Survey of Balance Sheet Information and the Reserve Bank's Survey of Foreign Currencies, Assets and Liabilities of Banks. The ABS compares results from the different sources (wherever possible) on an enterprise by enterprise basis to identify and resolve any discrepancies in reporting. Such comparisons may bring to light a number of errors, such as enterprises misinterpreting questions and instructions on forms and other reporting and processing errors. The ABS has found that these comparisons have led to some notable improvements in data quality in recent years.

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