Synthetic business microdata: An Australian example

Chien-Hung Chien, Alan Welsh, John D Moore

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Enhancing microdata access is one of the strategic priorities for the AustralianBureau of Statistics (ABS) in its transformation program. However, balancing the trade-off between enhancing data access and protecting confidentiality is a delicate act. The ABScould use synthetic data to make its business microdata more accessible for researchers toinform decision making while maintaining confidentiality. This study explores the syntheticdata approach for the release and analysis of business data. Australian businesses in someindustries are characterised by oligopoly or duopoly. This means the existing microdataprotection techniques such as information reduction or perturbation may not be as effectiveas for household microdata. The research focuses on addressing the following questions:Can a synthetic data approach enhance microdata access for the longitudinal businessdata? What is the utility and protection trade-off using the synthetic data approach? Thestudy compares confidentialised input and output approaches for protecting confidentialityand analysing Australian microdata from business survey or administrative data sources.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-21
    JournalJournal of Privacy and Confidentiality
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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