Microdata, the survey data recording the economic and social behaviour of individuals, firms and other decision making agents, and the environment in which they exist, is an essential tool for the understanding of economic and social interactions, and the design of government policy. Many important questions about the behaviour of people, households, firms and institutions can only be addressed using microdata. Analysis of microdata improves understanding of the dynamics of individual behaviour, of the variation in the experience and responses of individuals and gives insight into the distributional impact of policy interventions.
The last ten years has seen a rapid growth in the questions posed of these types of data, their availability, and the computing technology available to process them and in the research tools available for their analysis. Much of the recent rapid development of analytic methods has taken place in the United States although European researchers have made significant contributions. The Network aims to keep European researchers contributing at the expanding methodological frontier of this subject and to facilitate the take up of these methods by applied researchers in Europe. The overall objective of the proposed Research and Training Network on Microdata Methods and Practice is to conduct and stimulate research on, and provide training in microdata research methods and practice, disseminate the results of this research, and provide a repository of information on microdata methods and practice for new and established users in Europe and the world.
The Network will develop and evaluate microdata research tools and apply them in the context of substantive social science research questions. It will provide training to researchers through course s, workshops and conferences and through the direct involvement of researchers in the microdata methods and practice research of the Network.
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