CASEN Survey: Statistical and methodological misleads in key public policy in Chile

Casos: CASEN Survey: Statistical and methodological misleads in key public policy in Chile


2014 - Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies - VOL. 4 NO. 7 2014, pp. 1-11


On an October morning, Joaquín Lavín, minister at MIDEPLAN, entered his office in Santiago, Chile. Joaquín Lavín had just returned from a press conference. Standing for long hours and answering the same questions several times had been tiring. In just a few months, Joaquín Lavín had learned that conducting the CASEN survey was not an easy task. As Joaquín Lavín sat down at his desk, he realized he needed to rethink his strategy. Perhaps, he had missed something or made some mistake that was causing controversy. In Chile, public policy is often made on the basis of different indicators that are expected to show the real situation of the country, for example its population, income and most of all, its distributions of poverty. In this context, there is an instrument called the CASEN (Caracterización Socio-Económica, or Socio-Economical Characterization) survey that is used to make a map of the national income and, beyond public policy, evaluate the success or failure of those public policies. The CASEN survey is a key component of public policy in Chile due to it being the greatest and most detailed measurement (after the national census) of population, income, consumption, education, labor and poverty. The survey is undertaken every two to three years, and is one of the most important sources of information for economics and business research in Chile. There are three key institutions that have participated in this survey. One is the Ministerio de Desarrollo Social (MIDEPLAN, the Ministry of Social Development), which is focused on public policy to benefit the less wealthy portion of the population, then there is MICRODATOS (Microdata) from the Universidad de Chile, which employs experts on qualitative and quantitative research, and finally the Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL, the Economic Commission to Latin America and the Caribbean), an international institution dependent on the United Nations (UN) that has reviewed and made recommendations to MIDEPLAN about the CASEN survey.


Survey, Questionnaires, Chile, Statistical error, Research design, CASEN

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