Cornell University

June 13 2014

Census Scientist

Abowd honored for fresh approaches to statistical problems

John AbowdProfessor John Abowd will be recognized in August by statisticians from around the world for developing innovative approaches to solving statistical problems in federal data collection.

The Roger Herriot Award is sponsored by the American Statistical Association's government and social statistics sections and the Washington Statistical Society.

A ceremony will be held during the Aug. 2-7 meeting in Boston of the Joint Statistical Meetings, the world's largest annual gathering of statisticians.

Abowd is the university's Edmund Ezra Day Professor of Economics, director of graduate studies for Economics and a professor of information science and statistics at the university.

The Joint Statistical Meetings, held annually since 1974, will be conducted this year by the American Statistical Association, International Biometric Society (ENAR and WNAR), Institute of Mathematical Statistics, International Chinese Statistical Association, Korean International Statistical Society, International Society for Bayesian Analysis, International Indian Statistical Association, Royal Statistical Society, and Statistical Society of Canada.

Daniel Weinberg, who recently retired as a senior research scientist for the U.S. Census Bureau, nominated Abowd, along with John Haltiwanger (University of Maryland) and Julia Lane (American Institutes for Research) who are also receiving the award. The nomination was based on their work with the Census Bureau's Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Program.

The Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Program created the nation's first 21st century statistical system.

Using methods that would now be called "big data," the program has produced new statistical data on local labor markets including employment, job creations, job destructions, hiring, separations and earnings. It provides the most detailed time series data produced on the demographic characteristics of local labor markets.

The data are released quarterly as the Quarterly Workforce Indicators and annually as OnTheMap, a tool for studying work-related commuting patterns. The data, created entirely by integrating existing data sources, are available to the public.

Abowd provides scientific leadership for the program, which produces research and public-use data integrating censuses, demographic surveys, economic surveys and administrative data.

Director of the Labor Dynamics Institute, Abowd has taught and done research at Cornell since 1987. His current research focuses on the creation, dissemination, privacy protection and use of linked, longitudinal data on employees and employers.