9/7/2010 3:00:00 PM By
I am really pleased to announce that the Kauffman Foundation has awarded a grant to Ohio State University to extend data collected in the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79)
. The NLSY79 is among the most widely used surveys in the social sciences, with a constituency that spans public health, social work, psychology, sociology, demography, economics, geography, financial planning, and public policy. The NLSY79 began in 1979 with a nationally representative sample of 12,686 individuals born in 1957-64. These individuals were surveyed annually from 1979 to 1994 and biennially from 1994 onward. Almost 8,000 respondents—80% of the eligible sample, given that some respondents died or were intentionally dropped—participated in the latest round. Most respondents have been followed from full-time schooling through the first decades of their work lives, and have reported detailed information on virtually every employer encountered along the way. As a result, the NLSY79 is a preeminent data source for researchers and policy makers seeking to understand school-to-work transitions, patterns of employment and nonemployment, job and occupational mobility, wage growth, gender and race differences in labor market outcomes, and much more. Self-employment is among the topics for which the NLSY79 has been widely used, given that respondents identify the “class” of worker (government; private, for-profit company; non-profit organization; self-employed; or working in family business) for every job reported.
Longitudinal surveys are not changed without a great deal of debate and consideration and yet the NLSY79 has reacted to the groundswell of desire among researchers for more data on entrepreneurship to add an entire module on business ownership to its 24th round of collection. Most importantly, NLSY79 is going beyond just asking about business ownership in the prior 2-year period, which is their typical practice for most topics, and gathering data on all business ownership experiences over the previous several decades. What I have described to this point the staff overseeing the NLSY79 has been able to squeeze out of their existing contract to administer the survey on behalf of Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Kauffman funding will support two additional activities designed to increase the usefulness of the data:
Task 1: the full linking of the retrospectively-collected data across the many rounds of collection to all relevant previously-collected data
Task 2: a follow-up question in 2012 to clarify any discrepancies in the responses of respondents over time.
Retrospective collection is very difficult. Based on cases that have already been completed in 2010, OSU projects that (i) about 1,500 respondents (20% of the sample) will report business ownership in the 2010 module; (ii) roughly 1,100 non-current businesses will be reported by these respondents; and (iii) as many as 700 of these non-current businesses will merit follow-up questions to confirm linkages with previously-reported jobs. Correcting the data administratively and proactively will jump start research in this area and eliminate gray areas of responses that otherwise would be thrown out.
No other major longitudinal population surveys are underway in the U.S. which could be considered real alternatives to this type of collection. While I have for many years tried to get some updates going to the PSID
design, I am not aware of any current or prospective efforts at PSID to expand their collection of entrepreneurship data.
While work is underway at OSU on this collection, the actual data from 2010 won’t be available until 2011. Additionally, the clarifications on responses will not be available until 2013. Thus, we are pleased to make this announcement and hope that it will start to get the research community excited about using these data when available. If you would like to be notified about the data’s release, please add a comment to this blog posting. For now that is our best way of keeping track of interested potential researchers.
8/30/2010 9:00:00 AM By
Apologies to my readers as I’ve been an absent blogger for the last couple of weeks with other work priorities. But it’s exciting that I’ve only been absent a couple of weeks and there is so much to update on regarding entrepreneurship and innovation data! So, I hope to catch up on postings in the coming week.
One of the biggest data releases of the year is a new series from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
. This is an extension of their population Business Employment Dynamics but one that adds more detail on two important measures – business age and survival – into their publically available series. Dive into the data
or read their overview of the release
I plan to spend more time with this data in the next few weeks as it fits nicely into a paper I am writing. For the time being, I looked at the data mostly to see if there was anything that looked really off or significantly different from a similar data release from the Census Bureau
and I am pleased to not have many problems to report. Perhaps the table that I found of most interest employment in surviving establishments. BLS has done an outstanding job of presenting the data in a logical manner so that each cohort of establishments can be followed over time without difficulty. So with this perspective
, it becomes easy to see that on average after more than 15 years, only about a quarter of establishments are surviving but that these establishments have grown in employment over time from an average of 7 to about 17 employees.
The BLS release of this data continues a trend at U.S. statistical agencies to add age as a component of ongoing business measurement and public release. It's a very exciting trend to see continuing and should bring more research in this area. Also of note in the last few weeks on this topic is the publication of a "Who Creates Jobs? Small v.s Large vs. Young"
by Haltiwanger, Jarmin, and Miranda. This is a good overview of why looking at business age as a component of analysis in government data is an important issue when studying job creation.
I should note that this is establishment data – not firm level data – so it doesn’t match perfectly with Census in that regard and will include both new companies and new locations of existing companies.
7/1/2010 8:00:00 AM By
Let me preface this post by saying I am not a macro guy. I get the national accounts, but only so far. But I understand the concept that we are misconceptualizing our national output by not recognizing that R&D investments are longer-term investments and should be capitalized.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis has a new data release
looking at revised GDP estimates through 2007 if R&D investments were capitalized (which it has not been in the past). The biggest thing that stood out to me in their analysis was this: "Biotechnology and information, communication, and technology (ICT) industries accounted for four-fifths of the business sector’s R&D contribution to GDP growth between 1998 and 2007." While ICT is a usual suspect in driving growth during this period, I hadn't expected to see the significant growth in biotechnology. This makes me think back to some recent testimony from a colleague, Lesa Mitchell
, which included a section on the seemingly sad returns to recent investments in life sciences research.
More detailed information about the 2010 R&D Satellite Account will be available in an article in the Survey of Current Business later this year. The article will describe the satellite account in more detail and will include statistics for R&D-intensive industries for 1987-2007, as well as statistics for the regional and international accounts.
6/29/2010 4:00:00 PM By
Still lots of interest in small business financing information but to date no U.S. statistical agencies are stepping up to the plate to replace the Federal Reserve's cancellation of the Survey of Small Business Finance (Rebel Cole has an interesting piece out today
using this data for the SBA). John Tozzi has an article reviewing small business lending data
in the U.S. for Bloomberg Businessweek
. And, lastly, the G-20 SME Finance Working Group on Data has preliminary outcome steps
from a recent meeting of experts.
6/25/2010 10:33:15 AM By
One of my favorite surveys done on entrepreneurship is the Eurobarometer out of the European Union (EU) through Gallup. It is the result of the European Union’s increased focus on entrepreneurship development following their 2000 meeting in Lisbon. The EU Commission is kind enough to include several non-European Union countries in the survey (this year had the U.S. and China, in particular). So, their roughly triennial survey brings important cross-country comparisons. The 2009 version of this survey was recently published
The current year survey instrument (which is at the back of the report) is a big improvement over past instruments and tries to get into topics like how entrepreneurs are viewed in society, the experience of the population with entrepreneurial endeavors, and perceptions of risks, barriers, and opportunities.
The overview report is about 200 pages so there is too much to cover here but a couple of things that stood out to me in my first pass of the report:
- “Looking at those who were not self-employed, in most countries, the proportion of respondents who considered it feasible to become self-employed in the next five years was lower than the proportion of those who would like to be self-employed. In the Nordic countries, however, an opposite trend was seen – i.e. the preference to be self-employed was lower than the perceived feasibility of gaining such a status; for example, 49% of non-self-employed Swedish respondents said it would be feasible to become self-employed in the next five years, whereas just 28% had an actual preference for changing their status.” This is an interesting measure – plans vs. perceptions – and I’d imagine our colleagues in the Nordic countries in charge of entrepreneurship should be very pleased with this result.
- The rate of entrepreneurial activity for the U.S. that they measure has gone up from 15 percent in 2004 to 18 percent in 2007 and 21 percent in 2009. My colleague Mike Horrell pulled together some of the historical data from their reports to show that this change is driven by an increase in reported embryonic activity as well as those reporting work in established businesses (see table of all countries measured in Eurobarometer).
- This is one of the few surveys that can tell us anything about how efforts to promote entrepreneurship through education are going. What they find is “a comparison, between 2007 and 2009 results, concerning the extent to which respondents agreed that their school education prepared them to become entrepreneurs showed that, in 2007, a number of European countries scored better than the US in stimulating entrepreneurship (e.g. Norway 74%, Portugal 71% vs. US 63%); in 2009, however, the US outscored all European countries (US 73%, Cyprus 64%, Portugal 63%).”
6/24/2010 3:00:00 PM By
Few would dispute the need to invest in research and development activities but the impact measurement of such investments in most cases can feel rather unsatisfying. The Chronicle of Higher Education in their June 10
issue highlighted one new project piloted as a result of the Federal economic stimulus program last year with leadership at the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Star Metrics is a program which creates a base of knowledge for future impact studies by allowing university HR systems to directly tag individuals being paid under federally-funded research projects. These underlying records are then aggregated automatically to create a database looking at the names of scientists (and emerging scientists) who do work on specific research projects. With this backbone, it should allow for much easier (and mostly automated) matching of citation databases (publication, patent, and other) or other output measures (such as companies formed, disclosures of inventions) in future years.
This is a direction which makes a lot of sense to me as it appears less burdensome on universities than many possible alternatives while potentially giving us much more detail on the people working on specific projects. Some of these people will be postdoc researchers, a nebulous area of the scientific human capital pipeline that are all too often missed in measurements of the scientific workforce. We are funding some work in this area through the STARS Database
being developed by Lynne Zucker and Michael Darby but it is not yet available for researchers.
June 9, 2010
Tracking the Value (at Least in Jobs) of Federal Research Spending
By Paul Basken
Chronicle of Higher Education
More than five years ago, the then-White House science adviser, John H. Marburger III, asked researchers a seemingly simple question: Given the billions of tax dollars they get each year, why don't they have good data on the value of what they produce?
That question may finally be getting answered.
Sparked by job-tracking requirements in the $787-billion economic-stimulus bill approved last year by Congress, the government's major science-financing agencies have been working with universities to devise a way to bring scientific precision to the explanation of how their expenditures help the national economy.
The organizers of the effort, known as Star Metrics, reached a milestone this month by declaring the success of what they consider a critical element—their ability to create a low-cost system for universities to easily compile and assemble their records of federal grants, including the faculty members and students employed by them, in a way that the information can be automatically fed into the overall nationwide database.
Their method, tested at seven universities, took the institutions only about 12 to 15 hours of staff time to set up, and virtually no time to run after that, said Julia I. Lane, a program director at the National Science Foundation.
Users agree. "It was literally a nonissue in terms of the administrative burden," said Susan Wyatt Sedwick, associate vice president for research and director of the Office of Sponsored Projects at the University of Texas at Austin, one of the participating institutions.
The idea, eventually, is to create a comprehensive system that relies largely on existing computerized databases—such as science-journal publications, patent registrations, venture-capital expenditures, and employment histories—to give policy makers a precise idea of what they are getting for their more than $31-billion of annual federal spending on university-based research.
"There is huge pressure" from the White House and Congress, Ms. Lane said, "to show the value of investments."
Benefits and Concerns for Institutions
Universities are largely cheering the project. For one thing, Ms. Sedwick said, the administrative burden alone on the university might be reduced, because current federal data requirements translate into more than two hours of work for each of the 160 or more grants that Austin received in the past year.
And, said Tobin L. Smith, associate vice president for federal relations at the Association of American Universities, institutions surely will be helped by the ability to tell taxpayers with greater precision the benefits of their expenditures. "It's all in all a pretty good thing," Mr. Smith said.
The organizers of Star Metrics are emphasizing to universities the voluntary and cooperative nature of the project, particularly its reliance on low-cost sources of existing data, Ms. Lane said.
The idea grew out of a 2005 speech by Mr. Marburger, then serving as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the administration of President George W. Bush, to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Mr. Marburger pointed out that systems for measuring the effectiveness of science spending were already nearly three decades old. A National Research Council report, he said, called them "often ill-suited for the purposes to which they have been employed."
The effort took a more concrete form after the economic-stimulus measure, containing more than $15-billion in federal money for science research, required recipients to report back to the government on the jobs being created by their projects.
The resulting Star Metrics effort doesn't come without some concern and uncertainties. For one thing, Ms. Lane said, the voluntary nature of the effort leaves unclear its ultimate comprehensiveness. And the final level of detail is also unclear at this stage, she said, with many questions remaining about how smoothly all the anticipated sources of data will be linked together.
Also, some colleges have objected in other contexts to the inclusion of personally identifiable data in nationwide research projects. In the case of Star Metrics, Ms. Lane said, all faculty members and students involved in federally sponsored research are expected to be assigned some form of identification number, to allow tracking of their outside activities such as journal publications, patents, and jobs.
And some had greeted Mr. Marburger's original idea with suspicion, tied to their unhappiness with the Bush administration's level of support for science spending. Mr. Marburger may largely be trying, with the new measures, "to make it impossible to assess the Bush record relative to past spending," Sally T. Hillsman, executive officer of the American Sociological Association, wrote at the time.
Advocates of research spending also recognize the possible political risks of letting the government science budget be judged primarily for its job-producing qualities, even though they largely see that trade-off as positive.
New Incentives for Students
At the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, which was not one of the seven institutions that tested the data-collection system, the initiative raises hope of creating badly needed new incentives for students, said the institution's president, Jerry M. Hultin.
Research students, including prospective new faculty members, have broad ambitions for applying their research expertise toward solving problems in the commercial marketplace, and they too often feel "boxed in" by current measures of academic success that are tied to traditional pathways, such as journal-publication citations, Mr. Hultin said.
"This is an unboxing of young faculty," he said, "and letting them head to some of the places they really want to go."
In fact, one startup enterprise that originated from the institute, he said, could be part of the solution. The company, ChubbyBrain, is compiling a directory of private companies that contains detailed information in such areas as their financing sources, mergers and acquisitions, and customers.
That's exactly the type of easily obtainable information that organizers of Star Metrics may hope to incorporate into their network, Mr. Hultin said. Ms. Lane agrees. "The notion here is to leverage existing data," she said.
The assembled information could eventually form the basis for reports that reviewers, at agencies such as the NSF and the National Institutes of Health, consider when they decide which grant applications to approve, Ms. Lane said.
But that doesn't mean the potential for job creation will be the only or even the primary measure for future grant applications, she said. Although the impetus from the economic-stimulus measure centered on job creation, Star Metrics is being designed to include the effects of federal science spending in three other broad areas, including the generation of basic scientific knowledge and improvements in long-term health and environmental conditions.
A classic example that the developers of Star Metrics keep in mind, Ms. Lane said, is that of Sergey M. Brin, the co-founder of Google Inc. whose research at Stanford University—helped by a graduate fellowship from the National Science Foundation—led to the development, in a rented garage, of the world's most popular Internet search engine.
"One grant," she said, "doesn't typically lead to one particular outcome."
6/16/2010 12:53:00 PM By
June 16, 2010 update
The European Commission has released a new survey on internationalization of European small businesses which provides new insights into what types of international activities businesses are undertaking.
August 17, 2009 original post
Entrepreneurs have complex and not well understood ties to the global community. In Europe this issue has received more attention than here in the U.S., largely because the importance of cross-border interactions to growth, even within Europe. Indeed, this week I reviewed and provided comments on a survey and draft study from EIM for the European Commission on internationalization. I'll post on that when it is finalized and information public, but in the meantime, it got me looking for data which is available to look at international aspects of entrepreneurship. I can't say that I found a lot but I am grateful to Brian Headd of the Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, for several of these resources. Know of something else? Shoot me an email.
NFIB 2004 Survey on International Trade
Survey of Business Owners
- The 2007 Survey of Business Owners by the Census Bureau has questions but data isn't available yet. Note that I think this data will be much more interesting now that this survey also added a question on immigrant status of the entrepreneur. Read the questionnaire. Information is available on the percent of firms that have exports (goods and services) as at least 10 percent of their sales.
- Some information from the 2002 survey has been published. Read more detailed report.
International Trade Association, Department of Commerce
Kauffman Firm Survey
- Beginning in year four, we asked the following question. What percent of [NAME BUSINESS]’s total sales were to individuals, businesses, or governments outside of the United States? Get overview statistics from this question.
Panel Study on Entrepreneurial Dynamics
- I've never seen this data used but in theory they include the following question in at least the first wave: Within the first two to three years of operation, what percent of your customers do you expect to be...) international – that is, they normally reside outside the US?
And lastly, in international commerce, Brad Jenson
seems to be a leading U.S. figure. Brian referenced him and I've heard others in Census and government reference Brad although I have never talked with him. For actual studies and better insight on international trade, you can try Brad Jenson.
6/11/2010 8:36:35 AM By
6/10/2010 9:00:00 AM By
The 2010 Kauffman Interagency Forum on Entrepreneurship and Innovation Data
(on June 4) brought together more than 50 representatives from the federal statistical community, academia, and other interested parties to talk about upcoming changes to ways in which the federal statistical agencies will be collecting data. The level of interaction among the agencies at the Forum and real interest in overall improvements was heartening to see. We were privileged to be the conveners of this conversation but clearly the hard work of making progress on entrepreneurship and innovation measurement is underway at the agency level. The Forum was mostly meant for in-person conversations and interaction but the agencies presenting did consent for us to post their PowerPoints for those interested. Below are the presentations and a couple of highlights from my perspective of their work.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (QCEW PPT
and NLSY PPT
- BLS plans to release a new series of tables on age and survival of the establishment (and firm, I believe) in August 2010 as a part of the Business Employment Dynamics series. This will add to the flood of new data becoming available on cohorts of firms and should prove interesting to compare with the Census Bureau's Business Dynamics Statistics.
- Birth and Death counts, without suppressions, by detailed industry and county are in the works. The concept of county-level business data without suppression is something which should excite a lot of local researchers and economic development agencies as most county-level data has to be aggregated to a level which is frustrating for looking at specific industries.
- The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth is collecting data on their 1979 cohort related to activities in business ownership and patenting. While not available for another two years it should be rich data for researchers.
Census Bureau (PPT
- Updates are underway to the Business Dynamics Statistics that will bring it up to the end of 2008 and likely produce more useful tables for following cohorts of firms over time at the state level.
- Synthetic microdata will be available through the Cornell RDC in the fall for the Longitudinal Business Database. This will be interesting to watch as synthetic microdata isn't actual data but rather a data set which has been built off of real data but with crucial changes to aspects of the data to ensure confidentiality of individual responses. I think the consensus on synthetic microdata is still out but its definitely one of the emerging solutions to providing microdata access to government data in an era of increasing confidentiality concerns with putting public-use microdata files on the Internet.
- I am really excited to see that the integration of characteristics of business owners into the business data is finally on the agenda in an ongoing manner. There is so much potential for new useful public products here like women in high-tech businesses or high-growth minority businesses. Many policy interventions are aimed at underrepresented minority groups in entrepreneurship and this has the potential to finally allow for tracking of changes in this arena annually, not just every five years, which is currently the most up-to-date data available matching business and ownership characteristics.
Federal Reserve Board (PPT
- The Federal Reserve didn't have huge updates for the room but did talk about their impromptu panel of households from the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finance who were contacted in 2009 again. Specific questions were included relating to the changes in business ownership among the panel which will help to inform some aspects of our understanding about the impact of the financial crisis on business-owning households.
National Science Foundation (PPT
- Anyone following NSF's innovation surveys over the last decade knows that this is a time of huge payoff for them. After much review, planning, and pain, the new Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS) is finally available to the public. And while the current releases are on 2008 collections, improvements made in 2009 look very positive are likely to provide even more meaningful information.
- Quite a bit of the discussion came around what to do on measuring technology commercialization in the university space. NSF indicated a new report should be coming out soon from an external group with recommendations for them on that topic. I'll be following up with that and adding more commentary then.
- The Microbusiness Innovation Survey is very early in development but still promises to be the most exciting possible change underway in the next few years in our understanding of innovation in the U.S. NSF is showing real leadership in taking on this survey and considering what topics are most appropriate to get innovation activities in very small businesses. More expert meetings and user groups are planned for this fall into 2010.
Patent and Trademark Office(PPT
- Did you know that the Patent and Trademark Office now has a chief economist? Well, Stuart Graham, the first occupant of this seat, is really taking the lead in improving the data the PTO makes available from their work.
- The PTO has recently done a bulk upload of information to Google and has plans for many future transfers of patent and trademark data.
- The PTO is also actively looking at what other agencies would make sense to partner in matching PTO data into more traditional statistical agency products. The PTO isn't really a statistical office (at least yet) so I think they are smart to look at partnerships that could produce really meaningful new information.
5/26/2010 3:00:00 PM By
Martin Kenney and Donald Patton of the University of California, Davis are making available to other researchers the "Firm Database of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs): from June 1996 through 2006, Version A." Interested scholars who would like to be emailed the data should contact Don. This was a database we featured at the 2007 Kauffman Symposium on Entrepreneurship and Innovation Data but at that time the data wasn't complete. Now, version A is done and Don and Martin have plans for several updates to the database in the coming year. So, without further adieu, here is the data base summary included with the data file:
This database is comprised of all de novo initial public offerings (IPOs) on American stock exchanges and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from June 1996 through December 2006. In assembling the set of firms to be included we initially relied on Thomson Financial Venture Expert to generate a list of all IPOs over this time period. From this list the following types of firms and filings were excluded: mutual funds, real estate investment trusts (REITs), asset acquisition or blank check companies, foreign F-1 filers, all small business (SB-2) IPOs with the exception of Internet firms, and all spin-offs and other firms that were not true de novo firms.
Every firm going public must file a prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission prior to its initial public stock offering. The IPO is a defining event in the history of any firm, and it performs two functions. First, it provides the firm with capital so that it can continue its expansion. Second, after the IPO, the stakes of both management and investors, (subject to certain lock-up delays) becomes liquid. In return, the firm must conform to the reporting and transparency requirements imposed by the SEC under the Securities Act of 1933. One of the primary objectives of the Securities Act of 1933 is to require companies making a public offering of their securities to publicly disclose relevant business and financial information about their company so that potential investors can make an informed investment decision regarding the offering. To achieve this end the 1933 Act requires companies going public to file disclosure documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the most important of which are the general form S-1 registration statement and the 424B prospectus.
This database has been constructed directly from these registration statements and prospectuses. These documents were found on the SEC's Electronic Data, Gathering and Retrieval (EDGAR) website. Up until the advent of the SEC's EDGAR system, IPO registration statements and other SEC documents were filed in paper form in officially designated locations and libraries. Beginning in the 1980s the SEC began to provide Internet access to these documents through its EDGAR program, but it wasn't until June 1996 that public firms were required to file all of their documents in this format. Therefore a complete record of all IPO documents for firms going public only begins in June 1996, and this is the starting point of this database.
Developing better data is part of Kauffman's long-term strategy for advancing better research and policy on entrepreneurship and innovation. Data Maven is place you can connect with new data developments, provide us feedback on possible new projects, and contribute to the community seeking to improve entrepreneurship and innovation measurement.
E.J. Reedy is a manager in Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. Learn more ...