9/15/2012 3:01:31 PM By
The National Bureau of Economics Research hosted a conference on new data sources for tracking economic activity this past week which has many relevant and important papers
for consideration. As I have said before, we can do better and should do better at developing new relevant and timely measures. BLS offers some ideas and insights on high-growth firms here and Erika McEntarfer's work on job-to-job flows are all quite interesting, just to choose two!
8/16/2012 2:40:20 PM By
One of the richest surveys of business owners in the United States is the Survey of Business Owners from the Census Bureau. Now researchers looking to use microdata can access a new public-use data set from their desktops
from the 2007 collection. Many other public reports
are now available on this collection as well.
11/28/2011 11:47:57 AM By
For established U.S. scholars doing work that requires microdata access to high-quality information, the Internal Revenue Service's Research Program
is worth a review. The call for proposals was recently issued with deadline of December 15.
9/19/2011 7:58:50 AM By
In studying entrepreneurship, one typically has to make a choice of orientations – to study through the business, to study through the household, or to study through an intermediary (like a venture capital fund). Most of the time, I deal with data that comes from the business, like with the Kauffman Firm Survey
, but this week I will be offering three posts on recent data updates that have been looking at entrepreneurship through household surveys. Household surveys as a mechanism for studying entrepreneurship commonly measure self-employment as a means of quantifying individual-level entrepreneurial activities. Self-employment is convenient, although not typically ideal, in that it is somewhat internationally comparable and in most official statistics have included self-employment response options for years. Each household surveys I will focus on this week is extending beyond self-employment to offer new and different means of looking at entrepreneurship, still using household frames.
While I have blogged on the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance before (see summary of 2007
and 2010 changes
), I haven’t touched upon their efforts to create a panel of households. While I am sure the Fed has had the idea to do a household panel before (panel data is more helpful to many scholars/analysis), it is amazing what an impetus like the Crisis can do to take a concept and turn it into a reality. Their panel data will consist of 2 points in time as their 2007 respondents were resurveyed in 2009. To date, the Fed has only released a summary paper analyzing the 2007 SCF panel
. In this paper the Fed highlights the important role than changes in business equity, along with values of homes and stock, appear to have on driving household wealth.
The Fed has only done a portion of what could be done in looking into these topics with such rich data. But good news - they know this! From my conversations with the Fed, it appears they are likely to release a public-use data file for the panel data at some point in late 2011 or early 2012. This should be a very interesting file for researchers interested in examining financing activities during this Crisis period and quite unique among data available.
Additionally, I wanted to blog on this anticipated data opportunity as it fits well with a recent call for funding issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research. To my knowledge no other forthcoming data set presents such a ready-made opportunity for studying household financing with a details on business equity included that has a longitudinal component.
NBER Household Finance Working Group
Call for Research Proposals 2011
The Household Finance (HF) Working Group at the National Bureau of Economic Research aims to advance understanding of household financial behavior and to provide a firm foundation for related policy discussions. The working group defines household finance broadly, to include the many financial decisions made by households, including the financial functions of payments, saving and investing/portfolio-choice, borrowing/credit, and risk management, as well as related decisions by businesses and government.
In addition to sponsoring conferences that bring together the various researchers working on household finance, the working group seeks to promote new research in the field, especially by young researchers. To this end, through a generous grant from the Sloan Foundation, we can provide four to five research grants, of $10,000-$20,000 each, directly supporting household finance projects. These grants can be applied only to non-salary costs (e.g., travel, data, research assistants, etc). Applications are especially welcome from untenured faculty members and advanced doctoral students, and for projects that would eventually generate public data that could also be used by other researchers.
Applicants should submit: a research proposal not to exceed 2 pages; a 1-page itemized budget (e.g., travel, data, etc), with brief justification as appropriate; and their curriculum vitae. These
components should be complied into a single pdf file and emailed to Denis Healy at firstname.lastname@example.org, with "HF research grant" in the subject line.
In cases where a substantial part of a grant goes towards data collection or production, grantees will be encouraged to make the resulting data publicly available to the extent possible, e.g., without violating confidentiality agreements, and to briefly discuss this possibility in the proposal.
Applications from doctoral students should be accompanied by a one-page letter of recommendation from a senior researcher who is knowledgeable about the project (and ideally, but not necessarily, an NBER affiliate). This letter can be emailed separately to the above address, again with "HF research grant" in the subject line (or the letter writer can submit the entire proposal in one email).
The application deadline is October 17, 2011. Applicants will be notified by early December.
Grantees will be required to deliver a preliminary working paper by August 15, 2012, and should be prepared to present the resulting research at a subsequent working group meeting (in Fall 2012 or later), if selected by the conference organizers. A complete working paper will be due by December 1, 2012.
3/7/2011 7:20:08 AM By
On the heals of the Kauffman Index release
, I want to call on the Census Bureau to produce more information on immigrant entrepreneurs. In my other posting I pointed to some of the big shifts which have occurred in the composition of new entrepreneurs over the last decade but I think it's worth repeating that here:
As the Kauffman Index shows
immigrant entrepreneurs made up almost 30 of all new entrepreneurs in 2010, more than doubling over the last decade and a half, and yet this is a group which we know very little about systematically at the national level and especially at the sub-national level. There are competing streams of research (see Wadwha, et. al
and Hart, et. al
), some of which Kauffman has funded, that point alternatively to the importance or the normalcy of immigrant entrepreneurs. Regardless of which stream of research you believe more, the Kauffman Index numbers make it strikingly apparent that we need to know more about rapidly growing population of new entrepreneurs.
I specifically suggest to Census that it consider adding a report to the current production schedule for the Survey of Business Owners
which is the largest survey of small business owners. In 2007 this survey added a question about immigrant status of business owners (a good move!) but currently there are no plans to specifically provide a detailed overview of immigrant entrepreneurs (see SBO release schedule here
). The SBO already provides detailed overviews of Black, Hispanic, Native American, American Indian or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders, Asian, Women, and Veteran-owned businesses. The immigrant data will be part of the June release of the report "Characteristics of Business Owners" but today I want to call on Census to consider adding a separate and more detailed Immigrant overview. The SBO could provide detailed sub-national estimates of the type and impact of immigrant-owned businesses and help to understand what has been a seemingly large shift in the composition of new entrepreneurs. The data exists; all that is needed is a recognition of this important group among entrepreneurs.
2/15/2011 8:32:56 AM By
Is job-lock (the locking of a person into a specific job beyond when they would like to be there) occurring in the U.S.? Are entrepreneurs being forced to stay in wage jobs, working for someone else, because of the fear of losing their health insurance? Below are a few pieces of research/data sources that I've come across recently that are attempting to make research contributions to this question. But before I comment on them and their source data, it has to be said that all of these research efforts are attempting to get at the impact of health insurance provision on entrepreneurial entry in the United States but because of limitations in how the data is collected none of the efforts really gets at the real
issue. Simply put, there is a belief that more potentially innovative nascent entrepreneurs are kept from starting a business (or doing so full-time) because they are tied to a job in which they receive health insurance. None of these data sources/research is able to ask this exact question and realizing the limits of their data to the analysis is critical. Someday, I hope there will be some data that can really inform this question more directly, but I am not currently aware of any such data in development. I certainly am of the crowd that believes this problem to be huge.
- Two sets of authors (Maria Minniti and Yunwei Gai; Ian Michael Breunig) have papers out using the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey at Department of Health and Human Services. This data is rich in that it gives information on where the insurance is coming from and also the work experience of all primary members of the house. The downside of this data in my mind is that it forces the authors to use a self-employment measure for entrepreneurship, which is not typically associated with high-growth firms.
- Rob Fairlie, Kanika Kapur, and Susan Gates in a forthcoming journal article Is Employer-Based Health Insurance a Barrier to Entrepreneurship? take a look at the Current Population Survey and specifically make use of it's unique design to track transitions to self-employment around the age 65. As such the authors are able to infer inhibitions at the time individuals become eligible for government-backed insurance and make attempts to measure job lock more broadly from this population.
- Scott Shane and Alicia Robb have analyzed the Kauffman Firm Survey questions asked of its panel of new businesses started in 2004 and finds little evidence of significant annual change in health insurance provision among the panel.
Past posts related to health insurance:
10/11/2010 8:00:00 AM By
Suggestions from Brookings and others were successful in getting the Small Business Administration to add a section to its Strategic Plan
recognizing the importance of data:
Strategic Objective 3.3: Promote the availability, analysis, and dissemination of the most current, accurate, and detailed statistics possible on small business.
1. Advocate for improved data collection on small business activity. Pursue new avenues for improved and expanded data products on small business by working with other government agencies and external sources.
2. Carryout and publish data research and analysis. Through both internal analysis and contract research, publish regular, useful, high-quality data and indicators on small businesses and the role that they play in the economy.
3. Raise awareness of data and findings. Publicize the availability of data and findings to federal agencies, Congress, small business organizations, research organizations, the media, and other stakeholders.
Original Post - September 10, 2010
As an organization advocating for more information, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is lacking. They are not a U.S. statistical agency, meaning they don’t actually collect any of their own data. SBA is left to seek different cuts of Census, BLS, or other data by business size or to hope they collect relevant new data on small business. While this has been effective for the SBA to a point, their strategies-to-date seem ineffective at driving consistent, long-term collection of surveys or data that are on topics unique to small business. The Survey on Small Business Finance, canceled some years ago by the Federal Reserve
, would have been much more conceptually at home in the SBA or in an existing statistical agency with strong SBA support. Instead, it, like other topics unique to small business have only been implemented in a hodgepodge manner.
Why do I bring this up? Well, recently the Small Business Administration put out for comment its “Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2011- 2016.” I was woefully negligent in actually getting my comments submitted formally, but I wanted to offer a quick nod to comments submitted by Andrew Reamer, formerly of the Brookings Institution and now at George Washington. Andy very aptly points out that data and statistics are missing from the vision for the next five years. If these topics remain off of SBA’s formal radar then any advances in data collection on small businesses that are nascent within the minds of statisticians at Census or BLS will likely only remain thoughts. Adding such concrete recommendations to a document like this can set up future funding efforts or intrapreneurs at one of the agencies. I know from my work that there are a lot of people in the statistical offices looking for new and innovative products. I hope the SBA can help to be an outside advocate for them.
6/29/2010 8:00:00 AM By
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has an exciting new survey in the works on microbusiness innovation (which was featured at our recent Kauffman Interagency Forum on Entrepreneurship and Innovation Data
). They are seeking interested contributors to the development of this work.
The Science Resources Statistics (SRS) Division of the National Science Foundation is planning a survey of microbusinesses (fewer than five employees). The microbusiness survey will collect data on R&D, innovation and related activities (such as sales of significantly improved goods and services; operating agreements and licensing activities; technology transfer; patents and intellectual property; and sources of technical knowledge), and measures of entrepreneurial effectiveness.
As we move forward in designing the survey we will be conducting workshops to help (1) gain a better perspective on data user needs and priorities of needs among users and (2) understand how microbusiness data will be used. Potential users include, but are not limited to, government officials at the federal, state, and local levels; international users; businesses and trade associations; and academic researchers. In addition, there are likely to be other categories of users that have not been specifically identified, as this is a new area of study.
If you are interested in contributing to the microbusiness discussion please forward your name to Audrey Kindlon at email@example.com.
6/11/2010 8:01:34 AM By
Few researchers realize it but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a program to encourage research
that require access to confidential tax micro data. Proposals are due to the IRS Office of Procurement by June 30, 2010. The Statistics of Income (SOI) Division "requires high quality proposals for research projects that necessitate access to federal tax micro data and that are for economic or statistical purposes. The results of these projects must provide insights that advance the administration of the Federal tax system and/or SOI operations. Proposals must also further SOI’s human capital development efforts. For this statement of work, consideration will be given only to proposals involving research on statistical methodologies, international income and taxation, non-profit organizations, estate and/or gift taxation, individual income taxation related to unincorporated businesses (except partnerships)
, or individual taxpayers with retirement accounts." (I've added the bold emphasis here to highlight the area of most likely entrepreneurship interest.)
One advantage of the IRS research program, besides the fact that they actually help pay for the research, is that the IRS has widely distributed offices around the country where the research can occur. The offices are in about sixty locations, if I remember correctly, compared to the Census Bureau's ten locations. We saw one proposal on entrepreneurship get approved last year so do know that proposals do actually get through but this is a proposal process where researchers really have to write both for themselves (in terms of the research-type questions they want to address) but also have to put themselves in the IRS's shoes to make clear how the IRS will benefit from the microdata work.
5/24/2010 3:00:00 PM By
The Economic Development Administration (EDA)
at the U.S. Department of Commerce has issued a call for proposals on the “Mapping Regional Innovation Clusters Project.” I am still reading over all the details and thinking about some of its implications, but in seeking proposals in the $1 million/year range for three years of support this should bring out a large and diverse set of applicants.
The short stated intent of the project:
…EDA, pursuant to its Research and Evaluation program, solicits applications for an economic development research project aimed at developing a replicable method for identifying and mapping regional innovation clusters, providing resources on best practices, and providing recommendations on metrics for the evaluation of regional innovation clusters.
For further details: http://www.grants.gov/search/search.do?mode=VIEW&oppId=54670
My comments here will be fairly simple.
- Missed opportunity. It’s a real shame that significant efforts like this aren’t actually better thought out across agencies by groups like the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, or through informal task forces. This effort could be so much the better if it were coming on the tail of a one-year or two-year research effort across U.S. statistical agencies to develop new and relevant regional innovation statistics from the underlying microdata. Instead, whoever wins will be forced to use many of the same fairly worn sets of indicators. So much could be done in this regard at Census and BLS, at a minimum, but it takes effort, time, and some funding. The U.S. statistical agencies are becoming increasingly aware that they need to produce better regional statistics (BEA is really taking the lead hear but only after some rough years).
- Web visuals aren’t so different. Having just gone through my first project in online data visualization with the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, I can say that doing online data visualization is not cheap and online visualizations are only as good as the traditional analysis completed. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like the science behind regional clusters or what is actually important to be measured when looking at regional strengths and weaknesses is specified enough to offer a fully-coherent base of knowledge for visualization.
The solicitation specifically identifies a couple of prior EDA-funded projects which the agency wants to be a component of the new project:
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 ...