CPAG RESEARCH FAULTY
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Recent research by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has
been found faulty.
CPAG's analysis of Child Youth and Family child abuse data
claimed, "The data suggests there is no correlation between
benefit receipt and child maltreatment". This despite
earlier Auckland University research finding, "Of all
children having a finding of maltreatment by age 5, 83 percent
are seen on a benefit before age two".
Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell says she asked the Ministry
of Social Development for the data supplied to CPAG.
"I was supplied with the number of substantiated cases of child
abuse and the 0-17 population for each CYF site office. These
show that CPAG's calculations are incorrect. For instance, their
report states, '...the proportion of 0-17 year olds who were
victims of abuse in Papakura was not 4.0% but 0.40 of 1%.'
In fact the proportion was 4 percent (608 distinct cases in an
estimated 0-17 population of 14,413). The flawed methodology was
repeated for every CYF site office recorded.
In an attempt to ascertain correlation between child abuse and
benefit dependence, the report went on to estimate the number of
beneficiaries that lived in each CYF site area.
"At this point CPAG counted all working age
beneficiaries whereas the relevant population to use would be
those beneficiaries with children in their care - a minority of
all beneficiaries," said Mitchell.
The rate of benefit dependency was also incorrectly calculated.
Data at Figure 5 (p11) is labelled "% income-tested
beneficiaries estimated in total population". Data at
(p24) purports to be "rate of benefit receipt in working-age
population". Yet the two sets are data are identical.
Using the example of Papakura again, CPAG's estimate for the
rate of benefit dependency is 10%. In fact the number of
working-age beneficiaries was 6,096; the 18-64 population was
approximately 31,302. That results in a benefit dependency rate
of 19.5 percent.
Mitchell says, "I have written to CPAG about these errors. They
have conceded that their report needs amending and say, 'An
amended version of the report will be available on our website
as soon as practicable.' Over two weeks later the faulty version
is still on-line.
CPAG research is publicly promoted to influence social policy.
It's therefore hugely important that policy-makers can trust
their work. If CPAG is publishing faulty research that trust
would be misplaced."
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