1504.0 - Methodological News, Jun 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/06/2002   
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The ABS analysis program is overseen by a three-member Board (the heads of the Economic Accounts, Social and Labour, and Methodology Divisions). The Board, which meets each quarter, has two main responsibilities:

  • declaring, on behalf of the ABS, the problems to which our analytical effort should be directed; and
  • assessing whether the outputs delivered by the analysis program are achieving the desired outcomes and, in particular, whether the prototype analytical products should find a place among the ABS's ongoing statistical products.

At its April 2002 meeting, the Board commissioned about ten staff-years' worth of new analytical work. Projects to be initiated during the coming six months include:
  • Analysing melded data from the Population and Agricultural Censuses. In 2001, these two major ABS collections were run at around the same time. This suite of projects will explore ways of enriching our understanding of social and economic conditions in agriculture-based communities by analysing a melded dataset.
  • Reviewing and updating the Socio-economic Indexes for Areas. SEIFA is a collection of five indexes which group Australian communities according to their social and economic conditions. The indexes are of interest in their own right; also, Australian modellers often use SEIFA as a proxy variable for socioeconomic status. This project will review the coverage, content and construction of SEIFA and will update the indexes using data from the 2001 Census.
  • Analysing data on benefits payments. This project will analyse data from different sources regarding welfare transfer payments. The goal is to understand any differences between the statistical pictures painted by those data sources and, if possible, to construct a dataset that best exploits the information latent in all the sources.
  • Constructing income microdata between survey years. This project will examine the possibility of modelling income distribution between the ABS's major biennial Surveys of Income and Housing Costs. The modelling might take account of data from other sources regarding income and employment, as well as information from the taxation and welfare payments systems.
  • Analyses of the links between information and communications technology and business performance; analyses of venture capital; review of the composite leading indicator of economic activity.

During the next few months, Analysis Branch staff will be meeting clients and potential collaborators and reviewers to decide what each project should try to achieve and how it should be run. The Board will consider our draft project initiation plans at its June 2002 meeting. The next major tranche of analysis projects (another 8-10 staff years' worth) will be considered by the Board toward the end of 2002.

Proposals and progress reports for these and other analysis projects can be found via the Analysis "Home Page"; and summaries appear in Analysis Newsletters.

For more information about the ABS analysis program, please contact Ken Tallis on (02) 6252 7290.

Email: ken.tallis@abs.gov.au