Data on Past Disasters Could Open Door to Understanding Recoveries

I just came across a blog from the Guardian, DataBlog, which could give way to hours or days of exploration — if only I had that luxury. 

Perhaps my only complaint is that DataBlog seems to be covering everything and in every direction. They have a database of databases that cuts across countries and topics from business registrations to abortion. But as such, it is ironic that I would find out about a major U.S. database on a U.K.-based site but that's just how the world works these days. 

The new database is from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) and provides state-level details about every declared emergency since 1953 in the United States by type of emergency (tornado, flood, etc.). If you were wondering, Texas looks to hold the title of most declared emergencies in that time period at 3,293 - mostly hurricane related. I can only imagine that this data will lead to finer-grained forthcoming data about these emergencies at a more local level or more metadata about the emergencies at the state level. 

So what does this have to do with entrepreneurship and innovation? Well, it's probably more of interest to entrepreneurship scholars but from my perspective there remains opportunity to tell the story of how businesses rebuild, how new businesses come in, and the general business dynamics how businesses recover after natural disasters. 

The existing FEMA data looks to lend itself well to potential marriage with other data now available tracking cohorts of businesses over time at the state level that are available from the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics

Indeed, in my opinion, we are going to be seeing a lot of research looking at state-level impacts on entrepreneurship in the coming years. I know I've reviewed two such papers this month, both of very good quality that make use of the confidential Kauffman Firm Survey data file.

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e.j. reedy data maven

E. J. Reedy

As a director in Research and Policy, E.J. Reedy oversees the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s research initiatives related to education, human capital development, and data.

Since joining the Kauffman Foundation in 2003, Reedy has been significantly involved in the coordination of the Foundation’s entrepreneurship and innovation data-related initiatives, including the Kauffman Firm Survey, for which he served as a principal investigator, and the Foundation’s multi-year series of symposiums on data, as well as many web-related projects and initiatives. He is a globally recognized expert in entrepreneurship and innovation measurement and has consulted for a variety of agencies.