Daniel Oberski, Antje Kirchner, Stephanie Eckman, Frauke Kreuter
Evaluating the Quality of Survey and Administrative Data with Generalized Multitrait-Multimethod Models

Journal of the American Statistical Association, 2017: 112, issue 520, pp. 1477-1489
ISSN: 0162-1459 (print); 1537-274X (online)

Administrative data are increasingly important in statistics, but, like other types of data, may contain measurement errors. To prevent such errors from invalidating analyses of scientific interest, it is therefore essential to estimate the extent of measurement errors in administrative data. Currently, however, most approaches to evaluate such errors involve either prohibitively expensive audits or comparison with a survey that is assumed perfect. We introduce the “generalized multitrait-multimethod” (GMTMM) model, which can be seen as a general framework for evaluating the quality of administrative and survey data simultaneously. This framework allows both survey and administrative data to contain random and systematic measurement errors. Moreover, it accommodates common features of administrative data such as discreteness, nonlinearity, and nonnormality, improving similar existing models. The use of the GMTMM model is demonstrated by application to linked survey-administrative data from the German Federal Employment Agency on income from of employment, and a simulation study evaluates the estimates obtained and their robustness to model misspecification.