NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Imputing Missing Values in the US Census Bureau's County Business Patterns

Fabian Eckert, Teresa C. Fort, Peter K. Schott, Natalie J. Yang

NBER Working Paper No. 26632
Issued in January 2020
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy, International Trade and Investment, Labor Studies, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

The County Business Patterns data published by the US Census Bureau track employment by county and industry from 1946 to the present. Two features of the data limit their usefulness to researchers in practice: (1) employment for the majority of county-industry cells is suppressed to protect confidentiality, and (2) industry classifications change over time. We address both issues. First, we develop a linear programming method that exploits the large set of adding-up constraints implicit in the hierarchical arrangement of the data to impute missing employment. Second, we provide concordances to map all data to a consistent set of industry codes.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26632

 
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