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The Role of the Computer in Economic and Social Research in Latin America

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Data Preparation for Latin American Comparisons of Consumption This PDF is a selection from an out-of-print volume from the National Bureau of Economic Research Volume Title: The Role of the Computer in Economic and Social Research in Latin America Volume Author/Editor: Nancy D. Ruggles, ed. Volume Publisher: NBER Volume ISBN: 0-87014-260-7 Volume URL: http://www.nber.org/books/rugg75-1 Publication Date: 1975 Chapter Title: Data Preparation for Latin American Comparisons of Consumption Chapter Author: Howard Howe, Roberto Villaveces Chapter URL: http://www.nber.org/chapters/c3777 Chapter pages in book: (p. 269 - 290) DATA PREPARATION FOR LATIN AMERICAN COMPARISONS OF CONSUMPTION* HOWARD HOWE AND ROBERTO VILLAVECES The Brookings Institution INTRODUCTION Effective empirical research depends on reliable data. In sample-survey work, considerable attention has been devoted to the prevention, detection, and correc- tion of errors introduced in the survey process itself. However, there has been little explicit discussion of the problems in accurately transmitting information from the field interviews to forms suitable for statistical treatment. We attempt to focus attention on this question through discussion of data preparation for a major study of Latin American income and expenditure patterns. The ECIEL' household income and expenditure study involves a large-scale body of sample-survey data. The collaborative nature of the study led to decen- tralized decision making in project design and execution. Computing played a fundamental role not only in the conventional processing of the data, but also in compensating for the organizational complications inherent in joint comparative work. We establish a framework of technical criteria for the organization of a large-scale study. Project feasibility necessitated relaxation of the technical efficiency criteria at various stages in the project. Foremost among the organiza- tional complications was the awkward posi

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