Discussion Paper

No. 2009-19 | March 18, 2009
Social Policy Targeting and Binary Information Transfer between Surveys


In this paper we develop a methodology for identifying a population group surveyed latently in the (target) survey relevant for further processing, for example poverty calculations, but surveyed explicitly in another (source) survey, not suitable for such processing. Identification is achieved by transferring the binary information from the source survey to the target survey by means of a logistic regression determining group affiliation in the source survey by use of variables available also in the target survey. In the proposed methodology we improve on common matching procedures by optimizing the cut-value of the probability which assigns group affiliation in the target survey. This contrasts with the commonly used "Hosmer-Lemeshov" cut-values for binary categorization, which equates between the sensitivity and specificity curves. Instead we improve group identification by minimizing the sum of total errors as a percent of total true outcomes. The Jewish ultra-orthodox population in Israel serves as a case study. This idiosyncratic community, committed to the observance of the Bible is only latently observed in the surveys typically used for poverty calculation. It is explicitly captured in the social survey, which is not suitable for poverty measurement. This procedure is useful for ex-post enhancement of survey data in general.

JEL Classification:

C15, D63, I38, Z12


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Cite As

Daniel Gottlieb and Leonid Kushnir (2009). Social Policy Targeting and Binary Information Transfer between Surveys. Economics Discussion Papers, No 2009-19, Kiel Institute for the World Economy. http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2009-19

Comments and Questions

Anonymous - Referee Report
April 17, 2009 - 08:44

See attached file

Daniel Gottlieb - Reply to Referee Report
April 24, 2009 - 10:59

I’ve read the referee report. I quite agree with its content and couldn’t find any criticism that requires more work.
I believe that the referee’s comments are consistent with our view that our proposed “matching” methodology improves significantly upon existing work in that field, though of course the method ...[more]

... implies that one can utilize additional information in the two (or n) surveys under consideration. Obviously, such richer information is available, since typically in social surveys contain varied information, that is not used to its full potential for social policy targeting.

Anonymous - Referee Report 2
April 27, 2009 - 15:37

See attached file

Daniel Gottlieb - Reply to Referee Report 2
May 05, 2009 - 10:38

See attached file