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The use of area-specific design-based mean squared error (MSE) to measure the uncertainty associated with synthetic and direct estimators is appealing since the same model-free criterion is applied. However, the small sample size is often a difficulty in obtaining a reliable estimator of the area-specific design-based MSE. Moreover, the area-specific design-based mean squared error estimator might yield undesirable negative values under certain circumstances. The existing solution to overcomedoi:10.17713/ajs.v48i4.790 fatcat:omxods6udvar7cezg37qcu7wta