Education Research and Administrative Data
Thanks to extraordinary and exponential improvements in data storage and computing capacities, it is now possible to collect, manage, and analyze data in magnitudes and in manners that would have been inconceivable just a short time ago. As the world has developed this remarkable capacity to store and analyze data, so have the world’s governments developed large-scale, comprehensive data files on tax programs, workforce information, benefit programs, health, and education. While these data are collected for purely administrative purposes, they represent remarkable new opportunities for expanding our knowledge. This chapter describes some of the benefits and challenges associated with the use of administrative data in education research. We also offer specific case studies of data that have been developed in both the Nordic countries and the United States, and offer an (incomplete) inventory of data sets used by social scientists to study education questions on every inhabited continent on earth.
This paper was prepared for Volume 5 of the Handbook of the Economics of Education. We appreciate helpful comments from Rick Hanushek, Steve Machin, and Ludger Woessmann. All errors and omissions are our own. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
D. Figlio, K. Karbownik, K.G. Salvanes, Chapter 2 - Education Research and Administrative Data, Editor(s): Eric A. Hanushek, Stephen Machin, Ludger Woessmann, Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier, Volume 5, 2016, Pages 75-138, ISSN 1574-0692, ISBN 9780444634597, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-63459-7.00002-6.