Central Banks are particularly well positioned to bridge the gap between producers of administrative micro data and the research community in general. That is because they collect and produce micro data sets, or have privileged access to administrative data sets, while at the same time have a body of in-house researchers that routinely use the data for their research activities. Thus, central banks have the ability to understand the data concerns both from the producer and researcher perspective.

Over the years, Banco de Portugal has developed a vast amount of knowledge regarding the collection, handling, and production of micro data sets. Moreover, several researchers from the Economics and Research Department have had a successful research agenda centered on the exploration of Portuguese administrative micro data bases. Thus, the goal of setting up a research unit dedicated to the analysis of micro data was to harness the power of the Portuguese administrative micro data sets and thus further stimulate research anchored on these data.

The Banco de Portugal Microdata Research Laboratory (BPLIM) started its activity in 2016 and it is located in the Porto branch of Banco de Portugal. It is an autonomous unit within the Economics and Research Department, with the core mission of supporting the production of research projects and studies about the Portuguese economy. Through BPLIM, both internal and external researchers gain access to well documented and anonymized micro data sets customized to their particular needs, and also have the possibility to use the computational resources available at the laboratory. Since BPLIM allows remote access to the data it hopes to attract the attention of both national and international researchers.

What sets BPLIM apart from other units which provide access to micro data is the fact that BPLIM hosts a core of researchers that are well connected with the academy and who work jointly with researchers at the Economics and Research Department, drawing on their long experience as end-users of these data sets. BPLIM researchers have active research agendas centered on the analysis of these micro data and thus are able to provide assistance and training on the use of the data sets and the techniques needed to analyze them.

BPLIM promotes regular activities such as workshops, conferences, and seminars centered on issues related to the use and exploitation of the micro data bases. Additionally, BPLIM welcomes doctoral students and visiting scholars who wish to gain familiarity with the data sets and the specific econometric techniques required to analyze them. Hopefully, these researchers will feel motivated to orient their research agendas towards the exploration of the Portuguese micro data sets thus contributing to the improvement of our knowledge about the Portuguese economy.

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