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EU-SILC from a Research Perspective

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Presentation on theme: "EU-SILC from a Research Perspective"— Presentation transcript:

1 EU-SILC from a Research Perspective
Heike Wirth & Christof Wolf

2 Topics covered Strengths of EU-SILC Flexible implementation of EU-SILC
Selected issues regarding data comparability Opportunities for longitudinal analysis with EU-SILC

3 Strengths of EU-SILC Coverage of countries Coverage of topics
(Private) Household survey Cross-sectional and longitudinal data Good and improving data documentation Access for research purposes free of charge (but more demanding under new regulation)

4 Flexibility

5 Flexible implementation of EU-SILC
EU-SILC is based on a common framework guidelines: concepts, definitions, classifications, procedures Target variables, i.e. ex ante harmonization Within this framework high flexibility regarding data generation Accommodates the national conditions and needs (+) Potential to limit cross-national comparability (–) While the input side might be diverse, the output side is harmonized (standardized microdata set) i.e. problems of data comparability are not directly visible

6 Flexible implementation of EU-SILC
Some potential sources of non-comparability Different sampling strategies Different survey designs Different modes of data collection Different field work periods and procedures Different national questionnaires Different reference periods Different nonresponse rates Different attrition rates

7 Comparability

8 Why is comparability so important?
EU-SILC is the central data source for social reporting in Europe Social indicators based on EU-SILC are used to assess countries’ places in relation to each other to learn from others’ best practices to evaluate policy measures

9 Selected issues regarding data comparability
1. Different survey designs and response rates 2. Different modes of data collection 3. Ex-ante output harmonization: Wording of questions

10 Comparability 1: Survey design and response rates
Rotational panel: variations across countries in the number of rotations. Most countries 4, but 8 in NO, 9 in FR and full panel in LU (in the future possibly 6 or more waves) Response rates and attrition vary throughout Europe

11 SILC response rates 2007 (only new rotational group)
Source: Eurostat: Proposal for revising the design of EU-SILC longitudinal component. Item 4; 5th Meeting of the Task-Force on the revision of the EU-SILC legal basis.

12 EU-SILC retention rates (a) households, (b) individuals re-interviewed the following year, in %
Source: Iacovou et al (2012) from EU-SILC longitudinal files, release , unweighted

13 Comparability 2: Different modes of data collection
Sources of EU-SILC data could be: survey(s) register(s) combination of survey(s) & register(s) Data could come from one source or two sources Issue of concern: Substantial findings of EU-SILC such as indicators used in social reporting may differ due to the diversity in the data collection across countries

14 Different modes of data collection (2010)
Information/ Interview completed from Survey 73.1% Survey countries BE, BG, CY, CZ, DE, GR, ES, EE, FR, HU, IT,LT, LU, MT; AT, PL, PT, RO, SK, UK Register 3.4% Both: Survey & Register 22.8% Register countries DK, FI, SE, NL, IS, LV, SI, IE Full Record Imputation 0.7%

15 Use of registers for different domains

16 Different modes of data collection
Measures in surveys and registers may be based on different concepts, e.g. Earnings information in registers tax-based (non taxed earnings?) different points in time when income and tax are collected (self-employed, temporary workers) Employment, Unemployment evidence that information on unemployment in survey and registers differ in a significant way at the individual level survey: e.g. memory errors regarding employment situation in the past Consistency problems if combining information from different sources?

17 Different modes of data collection
Mixed modes of data collection in surveys Personal interview (respondent) CATI (Computer Assisted Telefon Interview) CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview) PAPI (Paper and Pencil Personal Interview) self-administered (respondent completes the questionnaire him/herself) Proxy-interview (respondent has someone else answer the questions for him/her) Type of interview might affect the response and thus reduce the comparability between countries and for countries with sequential mixed mode between waves

18 Different modes of data collection (2010)
SURVEY COUNTRIES Interview 73.1% Face to Face CAPI 29.1% PAPI 42.3% CATI 3.9% Self-administered 5.5% Proxy Interview 18.3% REGISTER COUNTRIES Register & Interviews 22.8% CAPI % PAPI 11.7% 65.6% 0.4% 22.0%

19 Proxy interview by country – ‘register countries’
% of proxy interviews  Country proxy interview Iceland 0.0 Nederland 1.2 Sverige 2.1 Ireland 23.7 Latvia Norway 23.8 Slovenia 24.6 Suomi 42.7 Danmark 48.6 Datasource: UDB_c10R_ver from , own computation As a rule only 1 person in hh is interviewed, who answers also for all other hh members

20 Proxy interviews by country – ‘survey countries’
% of proxy interviews Slovak Republic 4.3 Czech Republic 19.3 Ellada 8.0 Hungary 19.8 Belgique 8.6 Luxembourg 20.1 United Kingdom 10.7 Bulgaria 20.3 Oesterreich 13.7 Portugal 20.5 Romania 15.3 Espana 21.9 Lithuania 15.6 Cyprus 23.0 Deutschland 18.8 Estonia 24.3 Italia 19.0 France 27.6 Poland 19.2 Malta 28.9 Datasource: UDB_c10R_ver from , own computation

21 Flexibility in modes of data collection
Quality of proxy interviews might depend on the reason of the proxy interview a respondent is not accessible or willing to give an interview proxy interview are cofounded with other characteristics like age or sex producers take proxy interviews as a mean to lower costs data producers might make efforts for a random selection of proxy respondents

22 Comparability 3 – Different questionnaires
SILC is ex ante harmonized, i.e. variables which are delivered by the NSIs to Eurostat are defined in regulations & guidelines (=> standard EU-SILC definition) But there is no common SILC questionnaire questionnaire design varies (e.g. order of questions) wording of questions varies (e.g. ‘How often do you usually ..’ or 'How often during a usual year do you …?)

23 Research example Research example Gash (2011): Methodological issues in comparative research. European Workshop to Introduce the EU-SILC and EU-LFS Manchester Research interest How does unemployment affect social engagement? EU-SILC Module (2006) on Social Participation Frequency of contacts/getting together with friends &relatives Ability to ask relatives, friends, neighbours for help Participation in formal and informal activities Participation in cultural/sport events o o PS090 - Ability to ask any relative, friend or neighbour for help o PS100 - Participation in informal voluntary activities o PS110 - Participation in activities of political parties or trade unions o PS120 - Participation in activities of professional associations o PS130 - Participation in activities of churches or other religious organisations o PS140 - Participation in activities of recreational groups or organisations o PS150 - Participation in activities of charitable organisations o PS160 - Participation in activities of other groups or organisations

24 Research example Main findings:
Broad agreement in the questionnaire wording across countries, but Some countries provide examples of social participation others not Some countries mention reference periods others not Some countries prompt that respondents should exclude people they live with others not Might have an effect on the reported frequencies of contacts


26 Comparability 3 - Output harmonization
When Eurostat knows about problems arising from different wording or other deviations in the questoinnaire it reports this Most national questionnaires are available Check documentation!!!

27 Opportunities for Longitudinal Analysis with EU-SILC

28 Opportunities for Longitudinal Analysis
Main topics studied with SILC (Eiffe & Till 2013) Income studies Poverty studies Labour market studies Limitations arise because SILC is a short-term panel, i.e. a maximum of 3 transitions

29 Income studies Income distribution
What are the consequences of income gains and losses on income inequality and poverty levels? How do regional economic and labour market structures as well as national institutions contribute to changes of income level and income distribution? Income dynamics How much does income mobility vary across European countries? See: Franz F. Eiffe and Matthias Till The Longitudinal Component of EU‐SILC Still Underused? NetSILC2: Working Paper 1/2013.

30 Income studies Impact of socio-economic events on income
Impact of having a disabled person in a household Changes in women’s contribution in Italian families Effect of partnership breakdown on individual income See: Franz F. Eiffe and Matthias Till The Longitudinal Component of EU‐SILC Still Underused? NetSILC2: Working Paper 1/2013.

31 Poverty studies How long do individuals or households remain in poor living conditions? How often do Europeans experience poverty over their life span (or at least over four years)? What are the profiles of households who remain in poverty for longer periods? What are the events/determinants that trigger poverty transitions? See: Franz F. Eiffe and Matthias Till The Longitudinal Component of EU‐SILC Still Underused? NetSILC2: Working Paper 1/2013.

32 Labour market studies What patterns of occupational mobility can be observed in Europe? How difficult is it to leave unemployment? How do labour market dynamics differ across countries? Can difference between countries be explained by different institutions, e.g. welfare state arrangements? See: Franz F. Eiffe and Matthias Till The Longitudinal Component of EU‐SILC Still Underused? NetSILC2: Working Paper 1/2013.

33 Possible problems of SILC longitudinal
Different attrition rates could be a problem If there is a correlation between attrition and income or others variables this would be a problem However, income bias related to attrition seems to be low

34 Household participation in SILC by Income Quintiles in previous year
Source: Eurostat: Proposal for revising the design of EU-SILC longitudinal component. Item 4; 5th Meeting of the Task-Force on the revision of the EU-SILC legal basis.

35 Thanks for listeing!

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