Record linkage in the Cape of Good Hope Panel

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP06/2018
 
Publication date: May 2018
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (Department of History, Utrecht University)
[protected email address] (Department of Economic History, Lund University)
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
 
Abstract:

In this paper we describe the record linkage procedure to create a panel from Cape Colony census returns, or opgaafrolle, for 1787--1828, a dataset of 42,354 household-level observations. Based on a subset of manually linked records, we first evaluate statistical models and deterministic algorithms to best identify and match households over time. By using household-level characteristics in the linking process and near-annual data, we are able to create high-quality links for 84 percent of the dataset. We compare basic analyses on the linked panel dataset to the original cross-sectional data, evaluate the feasibility of the strategy when linking to supplementary sources, and discuss the scalability of our approach to the full Cape panel.

 
JEL Classification:

N01, C81

Keywords:

census, machine learning, micro-data, record linkage, panel data, South Africa

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13 September 2021
It was a data-heavy week in SA, with the 2021Q2 real GDP data indicating that the economy had better-than-expected recovery momentum in the first half of the year. While growth remained solid in the second quarter, both the survey and actual data released last week revealed the significant impact that the range of shocks at the start of the third quarter...

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