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CAGE granted access to US Census Data

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CAGE granted access to US Census Data

Warwick now one of only 3 European institutions to have access to this data

Following a successful application for access to the full-count restricted-use U.S. Census files from 1850 to 1940 CAGE has been granted access to this data.

The Minnesota Population Center (MPC) at the University of Michigan only hands out a maximum of 10 licences for these data per year. Thanks to CAGE, Warwick will be the third institution in Europe to have access to this data - the other two being UCL and Edinburgh - making CAGE and Warwick's Department of Economics a hub for novel research in economics utilising historic data.

The Census is special in many respects. It includes information on the entire U.S. population (full-count) in every decade from 1850 to 1940 and covers 650 million individual observations. Also, the data provide the names of individuals, a feature which makes them restricted-use and therefore difficult to obtain. Having respondents' names opens up the possibility to link the same individuals from one Census year to another and thus to build large panel data sets wherein researchers can follow individuals from birth to death. Together with recent advances in record linkage methods, this provides new avenues for economic research and recent papers using this data have appeared in top-class economics journals.

Several research groups will make use of this opportunity. From July of this year, researchers Andreas Ferrara and Yannick Dupraz, have gathered 10 high-quality project proposals involving a total of 12 researchers from different departments such as economics and statistics, as well as from other universities like Oxford or the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign. The range of topics is diverse and includes questions relating to the formation of heterogeneous communities in the era of mass migration, the effect of the prohibition on house prices, the long-term effects of orphanhood for children of Civil War soldiers, and others.