Distributions of business data are typically much more skewed than those for household or individual data and public knowledge of the underlying units is greater. As a results, national statistical offices (NSOs) rarely release establishment or firm-level business microdata due to the risk to respondent confidentiality. One potential approach for overcoming these risks is to release synthetic data where the establishment data are simulated from statistical models designed to mimic the distributions of the real underlying microdata. The US Census Bureau's Center for Economic Studies in collaboration with Duke University, the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, and Cornell University made available a synthetic public use file for the Longitudinal Business Database (LBD) comprising more than 20 million records for all business establishment with paid employees dating back to 1976. The resulting product, dubbed the SynLBD, was released in 2010 and is the first-ever comprehensive business microdata set publicly released in the United States including data on establishments employment and payroll, birth and death years, and industrial classification. This paper documents the scope of projects that have requested and used the SynLBD.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lars_vilhuber/7/