Third EU-SILC Network on income and living conditions (Net-SILC3)

The “Third Network for the Analysis of EU-SILC (Net-SILC3) is a research network funded by the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat) and coordinated by LISER. It builds on a solid foundation of previous EU networks, which were also coordinated by LISER (esp. Net-SILC1 and Net-SILC2). Launched in 2016 for a period of 4.5 years, Net-SILC3 consists of a group of institutions and researchers using the comparative EU data source EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). It brings together experts from nine European Statistical System (ESS) bodies and eight academic bodies:

  1. ESS bodies:
    • the overall coordinator (LISER); and
    • eight ESS bodies: Statistics Austria, Statistics Finland, Statistics France (INSEE), Statistics Latvia (CSB), Statistics Luxembourg (STATEC), Statistics Netherlands (CBS), Statistics UK (ONS) and the Belgian Scientific Institute of Public Health (Sciensano).
  2. Research bodies:
    • GESIS (Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany);
    • Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) of the University of Essex (UK);
    • Institute of Economic Sciences (Republic of Serbia);
    • Stockholm University;
    • University of Amsterdam;
    • University of Antwerp (Belgium);
    • University of Manchester (UK);
    • University of Oxford (UK);

Since 2016 (and until 2020), Net-SILC3 carries out in-depth methodological work and socio-economic analysis of the EU-SILC data covering both cross-sectional and longitudinal dimensions. It also develops common tools and approaches regarding various aspects of data production for the whole European Statistical System.

Net-SILC3 seeks to address various methodological and analytical questions that are of particular importance at this stage of the maturation of EU-SILC. The 26 Net-SILC3 work packages (WPs) are organised around two large clusters:

  • The first cluster aims at providing a thorough analysis of the various sources of non-sampling errors in EU-SILC. A focus of Net-SILC2 was the analysis of sampling errors. This has led to major progress inter alia in the assessment of the robustness of EU social indicators (the Net-SILC2 methodology is now used by the European Commission as well as Member States in the EU Social Protection Committee’s Indicators Sub-Group). However, non-sampling errors have been somewhat neglected to date, so Net-SILC3 devotes a large part of its resources to the study of non-sampling errors. Non-sampling errors are systematic or variable errors that arise from aspects of the survey process other than sample selection. These include errors due to frame under-coverage, non-response, measurement and processing. Such errors are important as studies in various contexts have shown them to be often at least as influential as sampling error. They can, however, be reduced through a combination of improved data collection practices and post-survey adjustment methods, but this requires understanding of the nature of the sources of error. An attempt to reduce non-sampling errors is particularly important in view of the revision of EU-SILC, i.e. as support to the elements to be included in the revised legal basis. This cluster of 11 WPs is designed to identify the main sources of non-sampling errors in EU-SILC, to describe the nature and impact of each type of error, and to produce guidance on reducing them.
  • The second cluster aims at deepening our knowledge of the determinants and dynamics of income and living conditions through in-depth analyses of a number of socio-economic issues. A key objective of this cluster is to suggest robust policy-relevant indicators in this field, including longitudinal indicators. This cluster covers a wide range of fields of interest and is composed of 15 WPs.

Net-SILC3 organises four Best Practices Workshops and two International conferences throughout the 4-year period covered by the Net-SILC3 grant.

Each of the 26 Net-SILC3 WPs leads to one or several papers to be presented at a Net-SILC3 conference or workshop; some of them are also presented at an EU Task-Forces and/or Working Groups. Most of the papers will be published in one of the two books that will be prepared at the end of the project (one book based on the research findings of cluster 1 and one book on the research findings of cluster 2).

The first Net-SILC3 Best Practices Workshop on “Assessing and improving the validity and comparability of the EU-SILC income, own consumption, health and housing variables” and the first international conference took place in Athens in April 2018. This event was kindly hosted by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) and organised by LISER together with the University of Antwerp.  See http://www.statistics.gr/netsilc3-athens/ for the program and the abstracts. 

The second and third Net-SILC3 Best Practices Workshop on “Frame errors and non-response, weighting and calibration and imputation for income variables” took place in Essex in February 2019. This event was kindly hosted by ISER and organised by LISER together with ISER.  See https://www.liser.lu/?type=news&id=1641 for the program and the abstracts.

Net-SILC3 will organise a second international Conference as well as one additional Best Practice Workshop on the “Impact of different modes of data collection” on 6-8 May 2020 in Rome.

Two books will be published by NET-SILC3 by the end of 2020/ early 2021.

Some papers presented at the Conferences or at the Best Practices Workshops lead to  Eurostat Statistical working papers:

- Reconciliation of EU statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC) data with national accounts (by Veli-Matti Törmälehto), see https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-statistical-working-papers/-/KS-TC-19-004?inheritRedirect=true&redirect=%2Feurostat%2Fpublications%2Fstatistical-working-papers

- The comparability of the EU-SILC income variables: review and recommendations (by Tim Goedemé and Lorena Zardo Trindade), see https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/product?code=KS-TC-20-001 See also the full analysis and annex: https://www.inet.ox.ac.uk/files/MetaSILC-2015-Report_Final.pdf and https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.7910/DVN/TLSZ4S


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