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									                                                                Population Data Gaps Workshop
                                                                                   8 June 2006
                                                                                   ABS House
                                                                               AGENDA ITEM 4


INTERNATIONAL MODELS AND EXPERIENCES FOR ADDRESSING
MAJOR GAPS


The Questions?

We can see that our concern about data gaps driven by several distinct
phenomenon.

   A. There are huge changes underway in how economies function,
      how societies change, in the place of government, and in
      community concern for the state of the world

The 1980’s saw the coming of major shifts in the rate of change of institutions,
exchanges across the globe, mobility of people, and the interdependence of
man and the environment. Much of this is summarised in the chart below.


     Shifting context of public policy post 1970’s
         Policy domain                     Shift in emphasis
                         Change from universal programmes, to programmes targeted at
        Social           specific communities defined by geography, ethnicity or economic
                         situation. Considerable growth in non-traditional family forms. Open
                         labour markets broaden change in work patterns and rewards.
                         Policy emphasis more on managing expectations for inflation, than on
        Economic         income stability and industrial development. National economy less
                         able to be delineated, through established structures. Trends in value
                         added difficult to compare as service economy dominates.
                         Ethnic diversity and changing nature of immigration alongside low
        Population       fertility and living much longer. Cohort effects influence population
                         trends complicate forecasts.
                         Looser delineation of government, extended role of private sector,
        Government       consumer oriented performance expectations of government,
                         deregulation of activity
                         Global warming, biotechnology, bio-security and environmental
        Environment      protection

                         Unbounded economic participation and shifts in competitiveness
        Globalisation    ongoing, new economic organisation, high population mobility

                         Information focused business organisation, real time operations,
        Information      integration of information to create new business, reduction in “tyranny
        technology       of distance”




            INTERNATIONAL MODELS AND EXPERIENCES FOR ADDRESSING MAJOR GAPS
               - Population Wellbeing Data Gaps Workshop, ABS House, 8 June 2006 - page 1
The knowledge of these huge shifts and the impacts already seen elsewhere
in the world give some indication of what might arise in Australia, that would
bring changes to the fundamental assumptions that underpin policy in the
coming decades. The effect of these global shifts is already seen in revisions
to critical statistical measures which undermine their value in policy formation,
(life expectancy, small area population counts, migration flows, family
formation, savings). We have seen a significant rise in the importance of
international comparisons, and international flows, stocks and imbalances.
We need to know about the more diverse communities we have, and about
the impact of the post war baby boomers as they live longer than any earlier
generation, and continue as a strong economic force in consumption,
investment and employment. We see our capacity to influence health and
welfare occur at a time when expectations rise even faster.

The shifts will affect the wealth creation potential of Australia. We expect to
see information technology and globalisation bring many more changes to the
mix of jobs in Australia, and in the forms of engagement in work, training at
work and the nature of the workplace. Policies which respond to some of
these shifts need to recognise the other changes that are occurring alongside
them, so that the same instruments (taxation, regulation, education for
example) are not adopted in contradictory ways. We need to understand
more about the health, education, employment and income of each population
cohort, so we can anticipate health and consumption in later life.

For example, as life expectancy increases, we see that a good share of older
people act as they used to do at younger ages. Living longer opens up
prospects for new stages in the typical life cycle and the extension and
continued evolution of established stages. The recognition of changes in this
pattern of living will is obscured by socio-economic, ethnic, gender and
regional differences in the nature and timing of these shifts, and limitations in
our means of recognising them until they are well established.

The reporting of economic and social conditions and well-being, and the
measurement of populations that are the focus of policy attention and public
interest has brought about significant changes in the emphasis on survey
frame management and the critical relevance of having administrative
registers available to inform official statistics.



   B. We are seeing a huge necessity for a more informed community,
      from the increase in choice for policy and personal decisions, in
      government, community public and private domains.




            INTERNATIONAL MODELS AND EXPERIENCES FOR ADDRESSING MAJOR GAPS
               - Population Wellbeing Data Gaps Workshop, ABS House, 8 June 2006 - page 2
Perceptions and attitudes may make people more or less risk adverse. The
net effect may be uncertain, and may differ across the community. We need
to better understand how the differences in perceptions that people have can
affect the success of policy. We are not clear on what makes people decide
things, even where we think that they have very sound information. We may
only fully understand the limits to the quality of some information, such as life
expectancy projections, some decades after it has been critical in making a
long term choice in public policy. Individuals vary greatly in how they learn
what are regarded as facts, and how far they qualify their trust in them by their
own experience. Personal experiences may remain etched in the memory,
regardless of contrary evidence. In the areas of retirement provision and
savings, there is some evidence that these effects can be quite substantial.
For example, we know that those in poorer economic situations often have
lower life expectancy than average, but even then people in this group may
still underestimate their true life expectancy, and hence undervalue the
benefits from personal saving.

The information and communication technologies, through the internet, mobile
phones and the immediacy of news reporting have put the world on the
doorstep, and the community has new ways of engaging on matters of world
concern, most especially world poverty, the environment, human rights, and
war. The accumulation of that concern is seen in ways of making
comparisons, including statistical measures, often prepared outside
governmental bodies.

In daily living, the higher incomes of most, and the expectation of living longer,
has generally given each cohort more opportunity than its predecessor to
engage in leisure, extended education and personal care and development. A
growing share of the population have employment income that enables
retirement to come with choices not available to their parents’ generation.
The extended choices between consumption or investment embrace
decisions about health, education and family as well as savings and home
investment. People now have to balance their own life time expectations, and
rely on information about life expectancy, quality of life and health from
statistics, because the observation of those older who are around us has far
less relevance for future generations.

Understanding health inequalities, broader measures of savings and
retirement provision, and observing the changing patterns of the life-cycle are
becoming quite critical if we are to assess reliably the capacity of individuals
within an ageing population to adapt. We may expect cohort differences,
including in attitudes and understanding that have a huge impact on the
effectiveness of policy.


   C. There is now a strong desire to use progress indicators in
      judging outcomes of choice, in governments, the community and
      in international bodies.

            INTERNATIONAL MODELS AND EXPERIENCES FOR ADDRESSING MAJOR GAPS
               - Population Wellbeing Data Gaps Workshop, ABS House, 8 June 2006 - page 3
Progress indicators usually involve a rich presentation capability, often better
than that of governments. Indicator systems have grown significantly in the
past 5 years, in international organisations, governments, non-government
organisations, community bodies, research institutions and among
commercial information providers.

International
    1. The OECD Global Forum is a series of international conventions (2004,
       2007) intended to create and crystallise expectations among decision-
       makers of what is possible. The OECD aims to build a wide
       constituency for the free spread and use of quantitative information
       about societies. The conventions seek to generate an enthusiasm for
       the seemingly mundane activities of standards methods which greatly
       increase the value and uses of information sources, so that people can
       see real events which have gained from timely and decisive action that
       good information enables. Themes of development, dissemination and
       decision-making
    2. The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals - measurable
       goals and targets for combating hunger, poverty, disease, illiteracy,
       environmental degradation and discrimination against women
    3. European Union Sustainable development indicators, inform on
       progress with a strategy to reconcile economic development, social
       cohesion and protection of the environment.
    4. European Union Structural Indicators (the Lisbon Agenda) - shortlist of
       14 structural indicators
    5. OECD Fact book: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics More
       than 100 indicators cover a wide range of areas


Governments
   1. Performance targets have a major place and impact in the UK, and the
      UK experiences are relevant for those elements of government
      service and change delivery that are measurable. For activities that
      remain in the public sector after outsourcing and privatisation, this
      makes them by definition incomplete, in that the things that are readily
      specified in contracts generally would have been outsourced.
      Otherwise they continue to be provided by government because public
      sector contestability is clear, or no contractual arrangement can be
      readily specified. What performance targets can therefore miss, is the
      achievements of the larger share of the management and political
      agenda, outlined above. Thus, government management change is
      therefore only partially encapsulated in performance targets. As noted
      above, where there are no fully representative, robust measures, then
      government management change is no less relevant or likely to have
      taken place. More generally, performance management is much
      more than monitoring targets.
   2. Neighbourhood statistics


            INTERNATIONAL MODELS AND EXPERIENCES FOR ADDRESSING MAJOR GAPS
               - Population Wellbeing Data Gaps Workshop, ABS House, 8 June 2006 - page 4
    3. Australia: Measures of Australia’s Progress (MAP) MAP is based
       around 15 or so headline dimensions of progress that span the
       economy, society and the environment. Forty or so supplementary
       indicators help paint a broader picture of national progress
    1. USA: In 2004 the General Accounting Office released a report on
       Informing Our Nation: Improving How to Understand and Assess the
       USA's Position and Progress.
    2. USA – Oregon: Oregon Shines(a broad array of up to 100 social,
       economic and environmental indicators, including K-12 student
       achievement, per capita income, air quality, crime rates, employment,
       and infant health.)
    3. The United Kingdom: Indicators for Sustainable Development a suite
       of 68 national sustainable development indicators
    4. Ireland: Measuring Ireland’s Progress 108 key indicators of national
       progress, benchmarked against other countries


Table: Comparison of forms of measurement

Performance targets             Progress Indicators               Official Statistics

Political leadership of goals   Public interest, use and          Professional leadership,
and delivery                    direction across all domains      specific use, user focus,
                                of society                        framework driven
Commitment to measuring         Quantifying community goals       Strong information base of
what government does rather     and values, and                   what is measurable, robust to
than what it spends             understanding of what is          variety of purposes by expert
                                important                         users. Strong infrastructure
                                                                  makes major change slow.
Direct policy linkage           Outcome focus makes               Context for all policies,
                                linkage to any specific policy    causality established by
                                indirect                          analysis
Delineates good/ bad            General trust and                 Sound information for some
achievement                     accessibility of information on   decisions
                                what society is about
Political selection of          Public ownership of choices       Independent, rigid, focused
measures, and management        and processes, subject to         on integrity of process, public
of context of release.          continual challenge of access     access slow to develop,
Regularly disputed              and relevance                     periodic challenge of
                                                                  relevance
Emphasis on programme           Emphasis on human                 Emphasis on technical
links                           dimension of statistics           oversight
Political oversight ongoing     Development and use by            Use by professional elite
                                social networks

Community and NGO

Progress indicators are one part of a broader statistical information capability
that is needed for communities, governments, nations and the globe itself.
They are how we describe a growing, world-wide movement to bring about
new ways to make sure that decisions that are made about our societies are
based on well formed evidence, that everyone can have and trust. Progress
               INTERNATIONAL MODELS AND EXPERIENCES FOR ADDRESSING MAJOR GAPS
                  - Population Wellbeing Data Gaps Workshop, ABS House, 8 June 2006 - page 5
indicators advance and represent the knowledge and understanding all
citizens can have about their society, and about what they value about it, as
well as mankind’s influence on the world as a secure place for future
generations. To a policymaker, parliamentarian, civil society leader or similar,
indicators of societal progress are important, and can change the way they
act, because they can be:
       a. A bridge between anecdote and national/global reporting on things
           relevant to you
       b. A challenge to intuition/ guess/ theory by extending the accessible
           statistical information base
       c. A tool for benchmarking, and a regular spotlight on issues
       d. Often and increasingly available as by-products of some existing
           process
       e. Often timely
       f. Built upon by continuing downstream development of standards that
           extend comparability

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing is one of the best examples of NGO led
activity.

Progress and performance indicators usually give partial information, and
broad based studies may periodically enable the focus of indicators to put into
proper context, without which conclusions on well being may be quite
misleading.


   D. The growing limitations in the capacity to measure populations
      have not been significantly offset by statistical improvements

We need to understand what are going to become hard questions for the
future about population measurement: This will include the capacity for
empirical estimation of traditional “hard” thresholds like retirement age.

Integration, coherence and comparability of statistics: Across
all fields of statistics, integration and coherence will be central to
statistical improvements, and need not be traded off as
timeliness improvements occur. Survey design will reinforce
integration. This will also be reinforced by estimation and
balancing methods. Reliance on modelling will be reduced by
statistical matching, strong and relevant frames and registers,
and high response rates in statistical sources where subgroup
comparisons are critical.

Improve timeliness of statistics of various types: We need to
understand more of the immediate uses of each set of official
statistics, to assess the degree of challenge needed to be given
to current performance levels. Our goals need to be quite
stretching.

             INTERNATIONAL MODELS AND EXPERIENCES FOR ADDRESSING MAJOR GAPS
                - Population Wellbeing Data Gaps Workshop, ABS House, 8 June 2006 - page 6
Multi-national participation in processing and measurement:
   • The statistical processes, including statistical frames, will
       respond quickly by opportunities from new information
       sources, from scanner data, and other digitised
       transaction information
   • Statistical sources will be extended to cover multinational
       measures, and facilitate more cross country coherence in
       statistics, such as migration.
   • A multinational approach to statistical measurement will
       dominate future improvements in methods and survey
       practice in international migration, price indexes,
       including hedonic measures, multinational enterprise
       production and profits, foreign trade flows (Intrastate),
       foreign investment, among other areas.
   • Those families of household surveys that are expected to
       provide derived statistics or close relationships between
       measures obtained from separate sources will share
       common elements in the survey design that facilitate
       increased coherence and less variable relationships
       across series.

Expectations and attitudes portray a different view of the world: Perceptions
and attitudes may make people more or less risk adverse. The net effect may
be uncertain, and may differ across the community. We need to better
understand how the differences in perceptions that people have can affect the
success of policy. We are not clear on what makes people decide things,
even where we think that they have very sound information. We may only
fully understand the limits to the quality of some information, such as life
expectancy projections, some decades after it has been critical in making a
long term choice in public policy. Individuals vary greatly in how they learn
what are regarded as facts, and how far they qualify their trust in them by their
own experience. Personal experiences may remain etched in the memory,
regardless of contrary evidence. In the areas of retirement provision and
savings, there is some evidence that these effects can be quite substantial.


   E. We need to understand and make transparent the tensions in the
      range of policy settings usually considered in the public domain,
      in each main policy area. The mantra of “What works” has
      obscured our capacity to understand the broader philosophical
      underpinnings of policy.

In all areas of policy the differences in policy orientation is a shift in the
balance of emphasis in the central tensions of the sector. The job of the
statistician is to understand those tensions so that public information informs
us not only about policies in place today, but those that might well be at some
time in the future. The table below indicates some of these tensions.


            INTERNATIONAL MODELS AND EXPERIENCES FOR ADDRESSING MAJOR GAPS
               - Population Wellbeing Data Gaps Workshop, ABS House, 8 June 2006 - page 7
      Policy area                                 Policy tension

Prison policy                 Rehabilitation, deterrence or punishment?
Accident Insurance            Prevention, rehabilitation or income replacement
Pensions                      Poverty alleviation or income replacement?
Public Health                 Reduce inequality in outcomes or lift the lowest
                              groups?
Child poverty                 Focus on children or parents?




            INTERNATIONAL MODELS AND EXPERIENCES FOR ADDRESSING MAJOR GAPS
               - Population Wellbeing Data Gaps Workshop, ABS House, 8 June 2006 - page 8
The Answers?

How can we increase our capacity for measurement?

   A. We can learn from the solutions and responses now being put in
      place elsewhere

   •   To maintain the quality of population measurement, in the UK, USA,
       France, there has been a strong shift to improve annual estimates of
       population, even where it reduces power of decennial census.
   •   Extend traditional approaches of survey design and survey frame
       management [address registers, administrative data, economic and
       social data integration, longitudinal surveys]
   •   Greater role of surveys designed for cross country comparisons (PISA,
       EU SILC)
   •   Increased importance of managing international coherence and
       comparison (migration, fertility, life expectancy)
   •   Extend scale of researcher access to unit record data
   •   Shift in importance of measuring variety of attitudes and perceptions
       about basic facts when applying policy where huge shifts going on in
       Life expectancy, Disability
   •   Actions to sustain level of survey response
   •   Possibility of major extensions of small area analysis through effective
       area classification (UK Neighbourhood statistics)
   •   Macro-micro cohesion by design
   •   Better presentation (Gap minder, UK Neighbourhood statistics)


   B. We can act now on what are seen in many countries as the more
      important priorities for the statistical system

   •   Strengthen professional capacity across government for analysis and
       linking analysis and policy. (UK Developing Professional Capacity
       agenda, Integrating Analysis agenda). We need to recognise that new
       generations of students use technology to develop skills and form
       networks in a way that we should draw on to extend how we relate to
       others
   •   Record linkage across time, and sources (UK population census
       longitudinal links 1971-2005), (NZ population census and death record
       linkages 1986-2001) , (Denmark administrative record census)
       (Canada linkage of migrant and migrant children tax records) (UK
       Neighbourhood statistics)
   •   Strengthen and extend researcher access to unit record data
   •   Build cross government research strategies.(UK DTI)


   C. There are ways that we might establish statistical priorities more
      effectively
            INTERNATIONAL MODELS AND EXPERIENCES FOR ADDRESSING MAJOR GAPS
               - Population Wellbeing Data Gaps Workshop, ABS House, 8 June 2006 - page 9
   •   We could establish strong synergies between social research, medical
       science and official statistics development agenda. We could assess
       priorities across the whole science sector. In the UK, social research
       funding co-ordination by the ESRC now includes cross-sectoral
       assessment of gaps in all research.
   •   Greater emphasis on participation and facilitation of international
       comparison studies. These can draw on existing sources, either
       aggregate or unit record, or lead to new surveys (for example, PISA)
   •   To help understand emerging critical questions and continually refresh
       the issues that official statistics and research must address, then
       nationally important externally established policy reviews should be
       required to include a review of statistical priorities on the topic (NZ
       Pensions task force of 1997 reported on need for wealth survey, UK
       Turner review on life expectancy forecasts).
   •   We need to strengthen statistics and research through having a solid
       base in registers of address, person or business. This will require
       drawing on available administrative sources from federal, state, local
       government academic and community information where relevant, with
       the capacity to match against registers, other sources
   •   We need to strengthen how far we can through survey design and
       management of statistical sources increase the coherence of statistical
       sources. We need to develop a clear focus for integration activities in
       the statistical system (ethnicity, small area, population age group,
   •   There could be a high level of engagement at operational and strategic
       level in challenging the existing statistical programmes (UK model, key
       relationship with Bank of England, HMT, DWP, including Service Level
       Agreements across key departments)
   •   Hard problems need the best brains. Extend engagement in assessing
       statistical priorities to expert thinkers in relevant fields (UK government
       performance review, by Professor Sir Tony Atkinson, UK regional
       statistics review by Prof Christopher Alsop)
   •   Reflect political agenda through research leadership by policy and
       research teams (UK policy action teams in 1998-1999)
   •   We can extend the capability of the 21st century technology base that
       underpins much of ABS statistics, especially to extend the way in which
       statistics are made accessible and presented to the general public.
   •   Become bolder about advising on the limits to statistical measurement.



Len Cook
Wellington, New Zealand
8 June 2006




            INTERNATIONAL MODELS AND EXPERIENCES FOR ADDRESSING MAJOR GAPS
              - Population Wellbeing Data Gaps Workshop, ABS House, 8 June 2006 - page 10

								
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