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Policy-relevant Surfaced Data on Population Distribution and Characteristics

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Surface modelling has great potential as a means of reducing the perennial constraints on data availability for policy-relevant analyses of population distribution and characteristics. The challenge is that the key criteria routinely used to distinguish which datasets are suitable for policy analyses in Britain are rooted in the Government Statistical Service's adherence to classical statistical practices. In this paper, the strengths and weaknesses of surfaced data are examined against these criteria, and the potential for overcoming the likely resistance to adopting surfaced data is suggested to lie in customisation of the analyses to meet specific policy concerns. To illustrate this approach, and assess its potential value for policy analyses, two datasets produced by different forms of surfacing are described.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Newcastle University

Publication date: October 1, 2000

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