FOI as a Data Collection Tool for Economists

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


This paper sets out a method of generating a unique data set that has been underused by economists – a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. The FOI Act came into force in 2005 in the UK and allows the public to make requests of publicly held data. We explain how they can be made and provide suggestions on how to make effective data driven requests, those most frequently made by
economists. Finally, we document the determinants of one particular FOI request. We applied for crime data from all police forces in the UK and examine the determinants of that request. In general, we find that observable characteristics of the local area or the police force neither determine whether the request was fulfilled, nor the speed at which it was responded to.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAntwerp
PublisherFaculty of Business and Economics, the University of Antwerp
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

Publication series

NameResearch Paper 2017-008
PublisherFaculty of Applied Economics, the University of Antwerp


  • Data Collection
  • Data Access


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