Six projects awarded Microdata Access Grant (MAG) 2021

The Microdata Access Grant provides free access to CBS Microdata for a selection of projects of researchers working at an ODISSEI member organisation. In the 2021 round of the MAG call, six projects were awarded.

Awarded projects

Genetic and environmental determinants of socioeconomic status in the Lifelines cohort – Sjoerd van Alten (VU-SBE) and Titus Galama (VU-SBE). Inequality in income and wealth is pervasive and growing in the Netherlands and other developed countries. Research in social science genetics has demonstrated that genes, socioeconomic environmental factors and their interaction each contribute substantially to the determination of socioeconomic outcomes. However, the environmental pathways through which genetic endowments translate into socioeconomic status (SES) are poorly understood. Our proposed study combines measures of genetic endowments in the Dutch Lifelines cohort with high-quality CBS microdata on SES (income, wealth, job type and education), based on administrative records. This uniquely linked dataset allows us to 1) estimate causal genetic effects (by conditioning on the parental genotype), 2) estimate causal environmental effects (by exploring natural experiments), and 3) explore extremely rich measures of SES, in the study of gene-by-environment interplay. Their combination is a first in this literature. Our study will improve understanding of the environmental pathways through which genetic endowments translate into SES.

Parental transition and healthy lifestyle choices – Kim Fairley (UL-Law) and Jim Been (UL-Law). With age, lifestyle habits become increasingly unmalleable. It is therefore crucial to raise children who are equipped to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our research question asks whether parents are able to act as good role models of a healthy lifestyle for their children? With regard to smoking, recent evidence suggests that parental transition positively contributes to smoking cessation. Our first aim is to investigate whether this positive effect also holds for other lifestyle factors. At the same time, parental transition is accompanied by intensified psychosocial stress, resulting in an increase of major depression during the postpartum period. Our second aim focuses on the combined effect of parental transition and mental health on labor market outcomes. Based on our findings, our results serve as input to policy concerned with accommodating parental transition in their multifaceted role of raising healthy children and participating on the Dutch labor market.

The Efficacy of Energy Efficiency: Home Insulation and Residential Gas Use – Linde Kattenberg (UM-SBE), Piet Eichholtz (UM-SBE) and Nils Kok (UM-SBE). Improving the energy efficiency of the building stock is of significant importance in decreasing household energy consumption. One way to improve the energy efficiency of a home is through insulation measures. Using unique, hand-collected data on insulation measures, this study examines the effect of wall and basement insulation on gas consumption in a large sample of (rental and owner-occupied) residential homes. We test for heterogeneous effects across types of homes, and across household characteristics. Furthermore, we investigate long-run gas consumption after the energy efficiency improvements, to address potential concerns of a rebound effect. Insights from this study contribute to better estimates on the returns to home insulation. These results can inform homeowners and housing corporations in their home retrofitting decision, reducing their investment uncertainty. The results can also inform policymakers on the efficacy of energy efficiency in the housing market, which represents an important pillar in reducing national carbon emissions.

Less for more? Family size, child allowances, and child outcomes: Evidence from a Dutch reform – Gabriele Mari (EUR-ESSB). Worldwide, families with young children receive cash transfers from the state in the form of child allowances. Falling more often below poverty lines, children in larger families arguably have more to benefit from these transfers. In the Netherlands, payments used to go up with the number of children, but a flat, per-child payment came into force in 1995. While most previous studies have focused on short-term changes to family income and with no distinctions by family size, this policy was the source of long-lasting variation in family income, especially in large families. I thus study whether and how children in larger families were affected by the 1995 reform, examining child outcomes from early childhood to early adulthood, and across the socioeconomic spectrum. As many countries, from the US to Italy, are currently introducing or expanding child allowances, the study can provide timely policy recommendations.

Using big data to give children a promising start in life – Bastian Ravesteijn (EUR-ESE) and Coen van de Kraats (VU-SBE). One in seven children in the Netherlands is deprived of a healthy life start in life. Routinely collected data on individual’s health and socio-economic factors offer exceptional opportunities to support professionals in prevention and health care, in particular those who work in midwifery, gynaecology and preventive youth health care (Jeugdgezondheidszorg). The aim of this project is to personalize prevention and care from the moment a child is conceived throughout childhood. We will bring novel PYHC data into the Statistics Netherlands (CBS) secure microdata environment and work together with our PYHC partners to assess and improve the quality of these data. Next, we will document how, when, and where the “childhood opportunity gap” opens up in the Netherlands. Finally, we will use information that is available during gestation or in early childhood to predict later childhood outcomes, in order to better target existing preventive actions to children and (future) parents.

Private Equity investment in the Netherlands: who benefits? – Rob Timans (TiU-TSB), Dirk Bezemer (RUG-FGMW) and Johan Heilbron (Uppsala University, Sweden). Private Equity (PE) is a form of finance in which a group of investors invests in companies for a limited time period. PE is hotly contested. In some high-profile cases, PE investments led to substantial financial difficulties for companies (such as HEMA). The recent expansion of PE into sectors that are traditionally not for-profit (such as health care and day nurseries) have led to further public unease and political scrutiny. This gives rise to important questions. Should these activities be welcomed? Are the problems related to PE investment to be viewed as incidents? Or do they indicate structural problems with PE involvement? Academic research into these questions has not yielded clear answers. The main reason for this is the lack of adequate data. The original contribution of this research will be a comprehensive study into the longer-term effects of PE activity specifically for a large number of Dutch firms. A second novelty is that we will build a unique firm-level dataset which brings together information from seven sources. This will allow us to ask new questions, and find new answers.

Conducting Research with CBS microdata

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) collects a wide range of data for its statistical tasks, many of them microdata at the level of individual persons or organisations. Protection of the confidentiality of the data has the highest priority for CBS. Within strict safety conditions however, universities and other authorized research institutes can get Remote Access to such data to perform statistical analyses for their own scientific or statistical purposes. The microdata themselves remain strictly within a secure environment within CBS. Under applicable conditions researcher can also bring in additional dataset to be linked with CBS microdata. Before aggregate statistical results are exported from the secured environment, CBS will check whether these results do not contain any risk for disclosure of information on individual persons or organisations.

Read more about using microdata within the CBS Remote Access Environment.

Next Microdata Access Grant call

The next round of the Microdata Access Grant is expected to open in the spring of 2022. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive all updates on ODISSEI calls and events.

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