Sharing administrative data for policy analysis and program evaluation purposes can improve evidence available to state leaders as they determine which economic and workforce development programs are likely to produce the greatest benefits for the state’s economy, workers, and communities. Data-gathering agencies that have trusted and secure data sharing processes in place can share their data with other government agencies and outside researchers, while always protecting the privacy and confidentiality of the data collected.
Data sharing is a formal process by which state agencies that collect and manage administrative records, such as corporate income tax and unemployment insurance records, may grant other government agencies and outside researchers access to microdata within those records to support authorized activities.
The transfer of administrative data from one agency to another is facilitated by the establishment of formal data sharing agreements. These agreements are required by federal and state data confidentiality laws. While the format of agreements varies from state to state, some common elements of agreements include:
Because the microdata contained in administrative records includes personally identifiable information (PII), establishing safeguards to protect the data disclosed is a critical component of data sharing agreements. Some common safeguards include:
The Data Sharing Toolkit provides guidance and templates to help state policymakers construct data confidentiality laws and regulations and data sharing agreements that ensure the protection of sensitive data and support appropriate access for policy analysis and program evaluation. The toolkit also provides information on other organizations with an interest in advancing evidence-based decision making to improve the impact of public economic and workforce development investments.
There is a growing network of organizations that can provide further support to groups seeking to improve economic and workforce development program outcomes through more rigorous policy analysis and program evaluation. Some of these organizations include: