Stanford University

To develop two new surveys of subjective business expectations and conduct research on the sources and consequences of business uncertainty

  • Amount $617,665
  • City Stanford, CA
  • Investigator Nicholas Bloom
  • Initiative Empirical Economic Research Enablers (EERE)
  • Year 2014
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Economics

This grant funds a project led by Nicholas Bloom (Stanford University) and Steven Davis (University of Chicago) to examine the relationship between uncertainty in the business community and economic performance.  Partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau, Bloom and Davis will survey the nearly 45,000 U.S. business establishments in the 2016 Annual Survey of Manufacturing, asking respondents to provide forecasts about the coming year, including expected demand for products, prices, cost increases, employment, planned investment, and both industry- and economy-wide performance outcomes.  The resulting will be a powerful new dataset that will provide the first direct measure of uncertainty in the business community.  In a related effort, Bloom and Davis will partner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to survey a smaller sample of 1,000 businesses on a monthly basis, providing a complementary dataset that will be able to measure how business uncertainty changes over time and in response to new information.   Bloom and Davis plan to use these datasets to construct new measures of economic uncertainty and address a variety of questions, including the impact of uncertainty on business and aggregate economic performance; whether firm-level uncertainty reduces investment, hiring, and R&D; whether firm forecasts of business conditions and outcomes exhibit cognitive biases, and if so, whether these biases vary by firm age, size, performance, management experience, or external conditions.

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