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Enhancing microdata access is one of the strategic priorities for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in its transformation program. However, balancing the trade-off between enhancing data access and protecting confidentiality is a delicate act. The ABS could use synthetic data to make its business microdata more accessible for researchers to inform decision making while maintaining confidentiality. This study explores the synthetic data approach for the release and analysis of business data. Australian businesses in some industries are characterised by oligopoly or duopoly. This means the existing microdata protection techniques such as information reduction or perturbation may not be as effective as for household microdata. The research focuses on addressing the following questions: Can a synthetic data approach enhance microdata access for the longitudinal business data? What is the utility and protection trade-off using the synthetic data approach? The study compares confidentialised input and output approaches for protecting confidentiality and analysing Australian microdata from business survey or administrative data sources.
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