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The Longitudinal business frame

Summary

The Business Frame has been designed primarily to support current, point-in-time snapshots of business populations. Researchers, however, have long known the value of longitudinal data that follow the same units over time. The trial Longitudinal Business Frame (LBF) is a new dataset that provides longitudinally linked data for all live businesses contained in the Statistics New Zealand Business Frame during a three-year period.

An earlier investigation showed that the Business Frame history tables could be used to create snapshots of the Business Frame in previous periods. This paper builds on that earlier work and documents the next step in this process: to apply this method to multiple time periods in order to create a longitudinal series for each live unit on the Business Frame from April 1999 to March 2002. The trial LBF was created at enterprise level, but the LBF could be easily extended to geographic unit level.

Many of the issues encountered in the creation of the series have been investigated, and methods have been developed to deal with them. The main issue that has still to be addressed is the repair of the enterprise links over time. While the Business Frame attempts to identify births and deaths due to administrative churn, the identification is targeted towards certain industries, and consequently many spurious births and deaths are missed. In the next stage, probabilistic matching using data matching software will be used to repair enterprise links over time. This work will complement existing analysis, tracking groups of employees moving between ceased and birthed units in the Employer Monthly Schedule data.

The findings of this investigation support the use of the Business Frame history tables to create a time series that accurately represents the population of businesses over time.

The new LBF, with its economy-wide coverage and basic data items such as employment, location, industrial activity and firm ownership relationships, has many potential uses. These uses include: being an enhanced measure of Business Demographic data; being a source of age information for enterprises; identifying and tracking the components of enterprises involved in structural change; and linking to other business surveys, such as the Annual Enterprise Survey, allowing the use of business survey data longitudinally for productivity and performance measurement.

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