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.
9/9/2010 9:00:00 AM By
At the 2010 Academy of Management workshop, we helped to organized a packed workshop for people looking to use more longitudinal data in their research. The following are the PPTs that were presented at that workshop. In particular, I really enjoyed Jon Eckardt's discussion of using internet data for entrepreneurship research.
9/8/2010 9:00:00 AM By
Last fall I participated in a really unique workshop at Yale put on by one of our Kauffman legal fellows, Victoria Stodden
. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss data and code sharing best practices and issues for creating replicable research. While the workshop was a bit more in the computational science space than I am fully comfortable, I found the conversation incredible and the goals of the effort beyond compelling. What has resulted is a Data and Code Sharing Declaration (just published in IEEE Computing in Science and Engineering
). This is a document that should be taken up for discussion at foundation and other funder events, in policy circles, and within the scientific academia as it lays out early and clear recommendations for actions each group can take to further data sharing and replication in the future. It is a document which anyone who curates data, journal editors, and all scientists should be discussing.
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.
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 ...