5/4/2009 10:11:00 AM By
We have just received very exciting news about a proposed change to one of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most important surveys - the National Youth Longitudinal Survey. The 1979 version of this study follows "a nationally representative sample of 12,686 young men and women who were 14-22 years old when they were first surveyed in 1979. These individuals were interviewed annually through 1994 and are currently interviewed on a biennial basis."
Currently, NYLS79 is getting ready to go back to the field on round 24 of surveys with this same group and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has published a call for comment on their work to the federal regsiter. The Bureau has highlighted the following changes in the current wave of work as compared to previous questionnaire documents:
The round 24 questionnaire reflects a number of content changes recommended by experts in various social science fields. The round 24 main NLSY79 questionnaire includes a more extensive set of questions about volunteer activity and monetary donations to charitable organizations. The round 24 survey also will include retrospective questions on business ownership. This new section augments information previously collected in the survey by asking how many businesses respondents have owned since age 18 and collecting detailed information on the characteristics of up to ten businesses. Questions on estate planning and wills will be asked in round 24 to augment information previously obtained on health, asset accumulation, and retirement plans. Round 24 includes a series of questions on mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures. The questions cover the period since January 2007 and ask respondents whether they had been more than two months behind on mortgage payments, received a foreclosure notice, or lost property due to foreclosure. Round 24 includes a short series of questions on whether respondents were offered stock options by their employer, whether the option was offered before the respondent accepted the job, whether the option affected the respondent’s decision to take the job, whether the option is tied to work performance, and whether the respondent has exercised or plans to exercise the option. Questions on assets will not be asked in this round. It was determined after Round 19 that an extended series of questions on assets is not necessary every survey round. The questions on political involvement included in Round 23 are not included for Round 24.
I am so excited by a couple of sentences here that I just wanted to reitterate the passage:
The round 24 survey also will include retrospective questions on business ownership. This new section augments information previously collected in the survey by asking how many businesses respondents have owned since age 18 and collecting detailed information on the characteristics of up to ten businesses.
If this isn't great news and a wonderful opportunity for the entrepreneurship research community, I don't know what would be. But, today, I also want to put out the challenge to researchers and those with experience in doing surveys with similiar populations looking at retrospective recall of business ownership activities and other important topics to send your ideas (or just your congratulations) to BLS and OMB before June 15, 2009.
We will be formulating comments and a letter, which I will post to the blog before sending. If anyone is sending comments and wants to share them, we would welcome the opportunity to second ideas which we agreed with in our letter.
Draft Questionnaire for round 24
nyls.html (3.20 mb)
Questionnaire from Round 23
5/2/2009 9:03:00 AM By
Someone is doing some really progressive work with the Economic Census at the U.S. Census Bureau. They continue to make solid improvements in their presentation of information to respondents as well as now for researchers and others in combing through the mounds of materials they produce. I am hopeful that they will continue this trend by making more of this data searchable in upcoming interfaces, but...
For now, I wanted to highlight that the main Survey of Business Owners website (part of the Economic Census) has been overhauled and is worth a look. While there are a lot of great reports here, two of the most helpful are towards the bottom of the page: Company Summary and Characteristics of Businesses. Many of the questions we get from reporters and local officials center on questions answered in these documents like how are minority-owned firms fairing? How are start-ups funded? (although I take some issue with this data because of its strong survivor and recall biases) and what are the receipts of businesses by race and gender of the business owner?
The second new feature of the Economic Census is the ability to sign-up for industry-specific nofications. NotifyMe is a pretty simple service to use and allows for a great deal of granularity in the industry classifications one subscribes to, but that's also probably my only critique of the service. The North American Industry Classication System (NAICS) is sufficiently complex even for researchers (let alone many entrepreneurs and the general public) that offering a web-based system which requires check boxes for each NAICS category is cumbersome. It might be nice in the future if they offered a means of searching the titles of these industries. This might also provide a means by which Census could look for emerging industries or how to improve their list as search data can provide a real insight into what users are looking for. Even with that criticism, I think this service will be useful for entrepreneurs who want real-time, really-specific information.
4/16/2009 5:33:00 AM By
Understanding and interpretting data in times of big change, like we have been seeing in the last couple of quarters, is a difficult. I wanted to highlight the conference proceedings of the Association of Public Data Users
here as their focus last fall was on understanding federal data in a lot of different topics that could provide context to much of this change. I would argue they missed most of the data which relates directly to entrepreneurship or innovation, but I will let users make that judgement.
4/8/2009 7:57:00 AM By
The fourth year of data (covering calendar year 2007 activities) for the Kauffman Firm Survey (KFS) is now available along with an overview report. The KFS is a panel study of 4,928 businesses founded in 2004 and tracked over their early years of operation.
New questions were added this year regarding the founders’ educational background, sources of comparative advantage, predominant market for sales of the firm’s products and services, exports, internet sales, loan applications, and loan turndowns. The survey continues to also focus on the nature of new business formation activity; characteristics of the strategy, offerings, and employment patterns of new businesses; the nature of the financial and organizational arrangements of these businesses; and the characteristics of their founders. The full third follow-up questionnaire is available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1267449.
Researchers interested in learning more about data available from the fourth year of collection and other in-progress research should consider attending the April 14, 2009 KFS research webinar. A recording of the webinar will be placed online for those not able to attend.
Information about all of these items can be found on the Kauffman Firm Survey Web site.
4/3/2009 9:37:00 AM By
The Census Bureau released several thousand new tables on business dynamics a couple of months ago which are just now starting to be picked up by the research community for scholarship. In particular, I was impressed by a recent paper on the cyclicality of employers. It's worth a read for everyone wanting to understand how different types of businesses are likely to be impacted by the recession.
4/2/2009 4:50:00 AM By
The RICAFE conference in Europe is one that I've only been able to enjoy the proceedings from, but enjoy I have. Today they released their proceedings from the most recent conference. I wanted to point out one paper in particular which seems to overview some entrepreneurship and innovation data that looks particularly novel. Of particular note, the Survey of Innovative Businesses in Latvia looks to have deviated from some of the core activities of the Community Innovation Survey in some important ways for understanding the relationship between entrepreneurship and innovation. In particular, they appear to emphacize understanding innovation in small firms. Additionally, their survey incorporates some aspects of financing activities. They also have the added benefit of matching their data to other federal data.
"This paper uses the Survey of Innovative Businesses in Latvia (SIBiL) to study the relationship between owner’s human capital and firm level innovations. SIBiL is a novel microlevel ataset covering a wide range of innovative activities of 1251 small Latvian firms in 2007-2008. The sampling design of SIBiL is very similar to Community Innovation Survey (CIS), the ain instrument for measuring firm-level innovations in the European Union. The questionnaire and the sampling method of SIBiL are nearly identical to those of the CIS. However, SIBiL has a umber of important advantages. First, SIBiL complements CIS by focusing on small firms with
less than 50 employees. In contrast, the CIS does not cover firms with less than 10 employees. Second, SIBiL is conducted using face-to-face interviews with owners and managers of the ompanies, which is a more reliable method compared with the mailed questionnaires used by CIS. All the interviews were conducted by Latvian Facts, a professional survey firm. Third, IBiL has a substantially larger questionnaire, covering the areas of access to and the use of external financing, business strategy, and background of the owners, such as their human capital nd prior professional experience. Fourth, SIBiL specifically focuses on sectors that EuroStat lassifies as high-technology manufacturing and knowledge intensive services. About 35% of the firms in the sample operate in these sectors. Fifth, our survey data are merged with the financial and ownership data from the Business Registry."
This research protocol sounds remarkably similar to several other surveys and coordinated survey/research effforts. In particular, the theory expressed here is very similar to that behind the Kauffman Firm Survey and the research itself is sounds very close to the research protocol being used by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's coordinated microdata study which will be presenting preliminary results at the Kauffman Foundation at a meeting in June.
3/31/2009 11:02:00 AM By
Family-ownership of firms isn't something that we deal with a lot at Kauffman, but it's something that the larger field considers a part of entrepreneurship. As such, when I got an email inquiry today through our website on the subject and data available on family-owned firms, I decided to take a look. I didn't go far because for this type of thing, in the United States, there is really only one great source, the Survey of Business Owners. It's done every five years in conjunction with the Economic Census. The most recent released data is from 2002. And what I found really fascinated me:
Respondent firms 16,687,541 total - 4,091,884 employer firms; 12,595,657 non-employer firms
- Family-owned, yes: 23.4 percent overall – 28.1 percent for employer firms; 21.9 percent for non-employers
- Family-owned, no: 9.4 percent overall– 18.3 percent for employer firms; 6.5 percent for non-employers
- Family-owned, only one owner: 63.6 percent overall - 51.0 percent for employer firms; 67.7 percent for non-employers
- Family-owned, item not reported: 4.2 percent overall - 4.1 percent for employer firms; 4.2 percent for non-employers
Source: Table 4. http://www.census.gov/prod/ec02/sb0200cscb.pdf
I'm still getting used to tables, etc. on the blog so apologies for the clunkiness here, but the basic message I wanted to show was that it's really interesting that a majority of firms in the United States are single-owner firms and yet these firms predominantly respond that they are "family-owned". By my reading of the above, 87 percent of firms responded that they were family-owned. Even close to 80 percent of employer firms reported being family-owned.
3/5/2009 10:25:00 AM By
3/4/2009 12:06:00 PM By
One of the upcoming fronts in microdata research is matched longitudinal business records and trade data. The OECD is coordinating several efforts to get countries matching this information and from what I can tell the U.S. Census Bureau is making progress in this regard. The Center for Economic Studies (CES) at the Census Bureau recently announced the addition of foreign trade data for approved projects at the Census Research Data Centers (RDCs). These data include 2006-2007 import trade, 2006-2007 export trade and 2004-2006 exporter database.
3/4/2009 4:32:00 AM By
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 ...