errors. These included (1) scanning errors; (2) keying errors, including errors interpreting the data received from the suppliers; (3) partial expenditure data; (4) a floating decimal point problem in the data entry program; and (5) dates entered incorrectly.
To address problems associated with missing data and to resolve some misreported items, EIA uses a hot deck imputation method, similar to the technique used by the CBECS. The items that most often need imputing include respondent-estimated square footage, measured square footage, the age of the home, and household income.
While the editing procedures developed by EIA undoubtedly enhance the quality of the data, revisions to the RECS editing procedures will have to sacrifice some of these rules and simplify the overall process, to facilitate faster processing of the data. As with the CBECS, emphasis should be placed on a shift to editing procedures that can be implemented in a self-administered setting, and an analysis should be conducted to evaluate whether there are editing rules that do not improve the data quality sufficiently to justify the resources invested and which could possibly be eliminated. In addition, it may be necessary to carry out a review of the processes in place to assure that the editing steps performed by the contractor are completed in a timely manner.
The possibility of releasing a subset of the data before the edits are completed for all of the variables should also be evaluated as an alternative to the above changes or as something done in combination with them. Given that many data users analyze only a subset of the data, releasing some of the variables before the full data set is edited could allow some researchers earlier access to all of the variables they need.
Recommendation RECS-4: EIA should investigate strategies for releasing the RECS data faster, for example, by revising the editing procedures altogether or by completing the editing for a subset of the variables and releasing these data prior to completing the editing for the full data set.
RECS DATA GAPS
The design of the RECS makes it most suitable for producing summary statistics for larger geographical areas (the entire country, census regions, and census divisions) and for selected states. Between 1993 and 2005, the