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ECLAC Reports on Its Participation in the 2011 Round of the National Socioeconomic Survey (CASEN) of Chile

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7 November 2013|Press Release

The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has made public a document providing details on its role in the latest round of the Socioeconomic Survey and on the technical procedures followed.

(1 September 2012) In view of the debate that has arisen following the release of the latest results of Chile's Socioeconomic Survey (CASEN), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) wishes to inform the public of the scope of its participation in this process.

ECLAC has used its well-recognized technical capacities to provide support for the CASEN survey since it began in 1987. It has done so in the firm belief that reliable statistical instruments are essential for generating effective public policies capable of reducing poverty and inequality.

The Commission wishes to clarify that responsibility for defining the thematic scope of the survey, designing and setting the questions included in the questionnaire, conducting the actual data capture and processing the information resides with the Ministry of Social Development of Chile. The Ministry is also responsible for issuing the results.

The role of ECLAC, through its Statistics Division, is limited to: (1) The adjustment of income variables in the survey questionnaire (which implies correcting errors of measurement that occur in the process of data collection); and (2) Constructing the income totals for each recipient and each household, by aggregating the various types of income captured in the questionnaire and duly adjusted.

The Ministry of Social Development then uses these income aggregates to estimate indicators of poverty and income distribution. ECLAC uses this same methodology for all the countries of Latin America, with a view to generating comparable data. Accordingly, it is important to clarify that ECLAC does not necessarily use the same poverty lines as many of the countries in the region. In fact, this has been the case for Chile since 2009, when the Commission's poverty measurement diverged from that conducted by the Ministry of Social Development. The difference arose because of different treatment of food prices in calculating the poverty line for extreme poverty.

In sum, the Commission's involvement in the process begins only after it has received the CASEN database from the Ministry, which has already conducted its own data consistency analysis. At that point, ECLAC corrects the data for non-response, adjusts for income underreporting and, finally, calculates the income aggregates.

Details of the procedure followed by ECLAC to ensure data comparability over time are given in the document attached.

ECLAC regrets the misuse of its international prestige in the discussions which have arisen following the release of poverty figures by the Ministry of Social Development and will assess whether to continue its collaboration with the Ministry in this regard.

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Any queries should be sent to the ECLAC Public Information and Web Services Section.

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