6/10/2010 9:00:00 AM
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.