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Effect of List Errors on the Estimation of Population Size

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In many situations, it is possible to estimate the size of a closed population if some members of the population are recorded on one or more administrative lists. An important example is estimating the prevalence of a disease, where some members of the disease population may be recorded on lists such as disease registries, hospital admission records, and general practitioner records. An incomplete contingency table is formed by matching the lists and the missing cell count estimated by prediction based on a fitted model, which assumes that the matching is done without error. In practice, matching errors do occur, and in this article, we examine the effect of these errors on the estimation process and show how the standard models may be modified to allow for matching errors.

Keywords: Administrative lists; Estimation of population size; Incomplete contingency table; Log-linear model; Quasi-likelihood

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Statistics, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand, Email:

Publication date: March 1, 2002


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