Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Longitudinal studies are a luxury

Cutting the funding to the Growing up in New Zealand Study is consistent with this government's focus on the neediest, most vulnerable, children.

The initial cohort for the study was just over 7,000 children. But by 2014 the retention  rate was only 92%. I believe that the drop-outs would largely have been the very families the government is keen to track. I base this on the data collected about benefits. The numbers are too low. The families that have dropped out of the study would probably have been beneficiary families.

Now the funding has been reduced and the study has to cut the cohort to 2,000. This is still a useful sample size when compared to earlier longitudinal studies like the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Study (1037 babies born Dunedin 1972-73 with a current retention rate of 95%) and the Christchurch Health and Development Study (1,265 born 1977) which have produced masses of interesting data and papers.

No doubt this "gutting" is a re-prioritization of public funds.


Anonymous said...

Off Topic, Lindsay - Just picked up in [Auckland] library, book by James Bartholomew, The Welfare of Nations. In the acknowledgments, he thanks you:- "organised an extraordinary day for me in and around Wellington, meeting one interesting person after another."
{Book blurb reminds me of Charles Murray's 1985 "Losing Ground" where the good intentions of the war against poverty "creating a hand-up and not a hand-out, only ended up creating more hands out"}

Lindsay Mitchell said...

We did indeed have an interesting and long day. We visited a volunteer group working with beneficiaries: a state house tenant; an ex-beneficiary mum who we lunched with at McDonalds; an ex-Minister; someone who worked on the Welfare Working Group and finally dined with a GP who works in prisons. I was lucky to get him over here. He wasn't going to be able to fit NZ in until he discovered one of his days in Australia was a public holiday!
A highly intelligent, quick-humoured and thoughtful man.