Simultaneous edit-imputation and disclosure limitation for business establishment data
Business establishment microdata typically are required to satisfy agency-specified edit rules, such as balance equations and linear inequalities. Inevitably some establishments' reported data violate the edit rules. Statistical agencies correct faulty values using a process known as edit-imputation. Business establishment data also must be heavily redacted before being shared with the public; indeed, confidentiality concerns lead many agencies not to share establishment microdata as unrestricted access files. When microdata must be heavily redacted, one approach is to create synthetic data, as done in the U.S. Longitudinal Business Database and the German IAB Establishment Panel. This article presents the first implementation of a fully integrated approach to edit-imputation and data synthesis. We illustrate the approach on data from the U.S.Census of Manufactures and present a variety of evaluations of the utility of the synthetic data. The paper also presents assessments of disclosure risks for several intruder attacks. We find that the synthetic data preserve important distributional features from the post-editing confidential microdata, and have low risks for the various attacks.