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New study tests biasedness of self-reported microbusiness innovation in the annual business survey

A study published this month in PlosONE and led by NERCRD Postdoctoral Scholar Luyi Han examined whether microbusinesses, which constitute a significant portion of U.S. firms with employees, are less likely to report innovation compared to other small businesses; this is a concern that has been reported previously in the literature. Their analysis did not detect a statistically significant bias, suggesting that the observed lower incidence of innovation among microbusinesses is not attributable to survey design. This result underscores the accuracy and reliability of innovation data collected in different Federal surveys, which is critically important as innovation is a key driver of productivity growth, and the information is used to inform policymaking and business development strategies in the U.S. In addition to Han, other contributors include Timothy Wojan, an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education fellow at the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics within the National Science Foundation, and NERCRD’s Zheng Tian and Stephan J. Goetz.