``Using a Probabilistic Model to Assist Merging of Large-scale Administrative Records.''

 

  Abstract

Since most social science research relies upon multiple data sources, merging data sets is an essential part of researchers' workflow. Unfortunately, a unique identifier that unambiguously links records is often unavailable and data sets may contain missing and inaccurate information. These problems are severe especially when merging large-scale administrative records. We develop a faster and more scalable algorithm to implement a canonical probabilistic model of record linkage that has many advantages over deterministic methods frequently used by social scientists. The proposed methodology efficiently handles millions of observations while accounting for missing data and measurement error, incorporating auxiliary information, and adjusting for uncertainty about merging in post-merge analyses. We conduct comprehensive simulation studies to evaluate the performance of our algorithm in realistic scenarios. We also apply our methodology to merging campaign contribution records, survey data, and nationwide voter files. We provide open-source software for implementing the proposed methodology. (Last Revised, May 2018)
Our method is used to validate the self-reported turnout in the 2016 American National Election Study. Our turnout validation data are available at the ANES website. See this paper for details.

  Software

Enamorado, Ted, Benjamin Fifield, and Kosuke Imai. ``fastLink: Fast Probabilistic Record Linkage.'' available through The Comprehensive R Archive Network.

© Kosuke Imai
 Last modified: Sun May 13 15:27:10 EDT 2018