EXPANDING MOBILITY: The Power of Linked Administrative Data for Multi-Gen Analysis

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Author(s): Della Jenkins and Emily Berkowitz
Publication Date: 12/20/2021

Decades of research and our own life experiences tell us that children do not develop in isolation; they are impacted by a complex, nested ecosystem and the resources available within this environment. Our ecosystem includes our school, neighborhood, community, and even our broader society. We are most immediately impacted by those most proximal to us: our family and household. Increasingly, governments, researchers, and service providers are recognizing the ecosystem’s impact on children and taking a whole-family or multi-generational (referred to hereafter as “multi-gen”) approach to programs and policy. But how do we know if multi-gen policy approaches are working?

In this paper, we discuss how integrated administrative data can help. Drawing on input from experts and our decade-plus experience working with cross-sector administrative data, we will explore the types of multi-gen research questions that become answerable when data are linked across individuals in a family or household. We’ll examine the benefits and challenges of different data sources for enabling linkages, and share examples from integrated data systems (IDS) across the US that have used multi-gen analysis to drive action. Finally, we’ll discuss opportunities for investment in data infrastructure that could make multi-gen analysis more routine and dynamic, thus transforming our capacity to understand human development and mobility across generations.


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Suggested Citation

Jenkins, D., Berkowitz, E., Burnett, TC, Culhane, D., Hawn Nelson, A., Katz, M., Smith, K., & Zanti, S. (2021). Expanding Mobility: The Power of Linked Administrative Data for Multi-Gen Analysis. Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy. University of Pennsylvania.


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