Large Data Analytics and Statistical Consulting

Large Data Analytics and Statistical Consulting

Welch Consulting economists and statisticians provide general statistical consulting services in both litigation and non-litigation settings. Our staff has extensive experience in statistical analytics consulting, including analysis of the large and growing body of electronic data sources (sometimes referred to as “big data consulting services”), both publicly available and proprietary.

Augmenting human resource data with employee-specific information that may reside only in résumés or applicant note files can require extensive updates of large and diverse databases.  Changes in time-keeping requirements, especially as integrated with payroll systems, are often difficult to manage. Different electronic databases may be integrated across systems, often with non-unique ID information and different organizational structures for different sets of employees. Constructing a complete, accurate, and reliable litigation-quality database requires skill and knowledge. 

We are experienced in utilizing non-company, large, publicly available socio-economic data sources for auditing or litigation preparation.  Some of the sources we have used in past assignments include:

  • U.S. Decennial Census
  • Current Population Survey
  • American Community Survey
  • Survey of Income and Program Participation
  • Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data
  • Health Retirement Survey
  • Economic Census

Practical Solutions Developed by Expert Economists

large data analytics & statistical consulting

From financial transactions to geo-coded events, we can bring organization and understanding to seemingly opaque and complex data. The dedicated computing facilities at our statistical consulting firm allow us to handle large computer files and to securely maintain proprietary information. In addition, we can help acquire data using scientific sampling and survey methods. We develop sampling plans and help design survey instruments to capture information in an efficient and comprehensive fashion. We can also create electronic data from paper records using cost-efficient coding resources.

Welch Consulting experts are familiar with collecting, organizing, and ultimately analyzing diverse and irregular company-based system data files. To augment these internal data sources, we incorporate information from external sources with the end goal of generating the high-quality litigation data needed for matters such as discrimination in the workplace cases, wage and hour claims, economic damages calculations, and adverse impact analyses.

Big Data/Statistics: Representative Engagements

The Assignment: Investigate Retail Gas Station Pricing in the Los Angeles Market

Welch Consulting was approached to conduct a study of how daily gasoline prices changed at individual stations in the greater Los Angeles area, in response to a potential price-fixing allegation.

Our Findings

We developed statistical measures of the movements of these prices across brands and locations. In this anti-trust action, we showed that day-to-day price changes demonstrated a lack of coordinated retail pricing across outlets. While prices moved together when there were common market-wide cost changes, station-specific price changes for brands were not associated with one another. 

The Assignment: Analyze Insurance Rates for Previously Uninsured Drivers  

An insurance provider retained Welch Consulting to review data on insurance claims for newly insured drivers. Newly implemented state-mandated regulations required previously uninsured motorists to purchase insurance prior to registering their vehicles or obtaining a driver’s license. Motorists without prior insurance were initially classified into high-risk pools, and were charged high rates for insurance; however, state agencies then required that the insurers place these drivers into standard risk pools and track their driving and accident histories.

Our Findings

Our experts compared accident records for newly insured drivers to those of comparable drivers who had a prior history of insurance coverage. After controlling for a variety of factors relating to their claims risk, we found that those with no prior insurance had significantly greater claims, which warranted their inclusion in a higher risk pool.

The Assignment: Advise on the Allocation of Costs Following a Settlement of Claims  

In a settlement of a defective product matter, three producers initially split claims payments in proportion to their respective market shares. One of the producers believed the share of costs was not being fairly distributed across the three companies participating in the settlement and asked us to study whether claim payments were consistent with the initial responsibilities of each producer.

Our Findings

Welch Consulting audited the actual claims paid by each producer to determine whether the initial division of responsibility was consistent with paid claims. We found that the claims payments were not proportional to gross market shares and that a redistribution of cost was warranted. These results were conveyed to the attorneys for the producer retaining Welch Consulting for follow-up negotiations.

The Assignment: Investigate Alleged Billing Practice Irregularities  

Medicare service providers can be subject to a government audit when their billing practices stand out in some way compared to an auditor’s expected norm. Once flagged, an auditor working on behalf of Medicare requests an inventory of files, and from this list draws a sample to be reviewed for “exceptions,” which may ultimately lead to a required reimbursement to Medicare. Importantly, the findings from the sample are then extrapolated to all of the provider’s Medicare billings during the review period. Welch Consulting was retained by attorneys for a provider to assess the statistical validity of the auditor’s sample.

Our Findings

In our report to the court, we showed that the sample was not drawn randomly, was too small to render meaningful results, and was not representative of the broader inventory of cases that were subject to extrapolation. The court subsequently disallowed the extrapolation of reimbursements to the full set of files at issue in this matter.

The Assignment: Investigate Allegations of Racial Profiling  

In a case alleging racial profiling, Welch Consulting analyzed stop-and-arrest data for a law enforcement agency. We broke down this data into demographic groups by race, age, and gender, and analyzed data on the frequency of stops (and the outcome of each stop) by race/age/gender groups.

Our Findings

We showed that the arrest rates were approximately the same for all those stopped and searched, regardless of their respective demographic groups. This result was consistent with a demographically neutral practice that resulted in the same efficacy of stops for all groups.

The Assignment: Measure Off-the-Clock Time Caused by Bag Searches

Employees working after a store had closed to the public were prevented from exiting the store until the manager unlocked the exit and allowed them to leave. Class action wage and hour claims were brought against the manager, alleging uncompensated work time between clocking out and actually exiting the store.

Our Findings

Rather than relying exclusively on deposition testimony, Welch Consulting used security video to help determine the actual wait time from clock-out to exit. We cataloged all hours of available security video footage and developed a random sample of time increments during which employee exits were observed. We developed a protocol for tracking employee exits and an observation log for video reviewers to record standardized events. Exit events were monitored by two reviewers independently to account for potential reviewer error. Statistical results showed that the delay time was minimal and far less on average than reported in testimony.