BLADE Research Projects

Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE) Research Projects

All projects that use BLADE data must go through a rigorous assessment and approval process, managed by the ABS. Only authorised researchers will be granted access to de-identified BLADE data for policy analysis, research, and statistical purposes.

All projects are assessed under the Five Safes Framework. For a project to be approved, the ABS and the data custodians (the agencies that collect the data) must agree to the proposed use of the data. The project must be assessed as being in the public interest and be in accordance with the legislation of the relevant agencies. All users are legally obliged to use data responsibly for approved purposes, comply with the conditions of access, and maintain confidentiality of data.

To enquire about any of the projects listed below, including potential research collaboration, or to apply for access to BLADE data, please email: data.services@abs.gov.au

Below is a list of approved research projects that use BLADE data, listed under the following categories: 

This page will be updated on a biannual basis.

Commonwealth Government

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Australian Climate Services (ACS) Data Evaluation (2021)

There are significant data and analysis gaps in our understanding of vulnerability and resilience to natural disasters. This is due to poor access to relevant and highly granular data and the resulting inability to develop tailored metrics drawing on linked social, economic, and environmental datasets. ACS is addressing these issues in its support for the prospective National Resilience, Relief and Recovery Agency (NRRRA). MADIP, BLADE and related datasets provide rich information which can be used for in-depth and timely analysis about people and businesses in disaster-prone areas. 

Feasibility of Simulating MADIP and BLADE Data (2021)

This project assesses the feasibility of creating simulated microdata that preserves key relationships between variables in MADIP and BLADE while maintaining data confidentiality, then tests the analytical capability of the Amazon Web Server using simulated microdata.

SA Research and Development Aggregate Data – BLADE Consultancy (2020)

The SA Office of the Productivity Commission is analysing administrative data on R& D Tax credits available in BLADE for the purpose of informing their current government inquiries on Research and Development. These inquiries are investigating R&D across South Australian businesses and government, as well as health and medical R&D.

Measuring IP registration and Business Innovation (MIPBI) (2020)

This project will assess the performance of innovation active-businesses with IP registrations compared to innovation-active businesses without registered IP. Such IP protection methods are used by businesses to reduce risk and maximise competitive advantage from their innovative activities. Whilst it is established that innovation has a positive impact on organisation and economy performance, this project will explore the relationship between IP registrations and business performance as well as whether IP registrations are still effective as a measure of this innovation.

Use of micro-economic measures to inform macro-economic measures: the case of using BLADE (2020)

This project investigates how derived experimental business level growth measures from the BLADE data can inform existing aggregate economic growth measures 

Parametric and non-parametric techniques (with University of New South Wales) (2018)

This project determines the feasibility of measuring firm level productivity using the experimental firm level capital input measures developed in the below project (Scoping/feasibility study to include capital input measures for firm level productivity). Specifically, it will test the applications of parametric and non-parametric statistical tools with the aim of coming up with experimental firm level productivity measures which can be used by BLADE users in micro-modelling and analysis.

Outputs from this project:

Scoping/feasibility study to include capital input measures for firm level productivity measurement in BLADE (with University of New South Wales) (2018)

The project aims to come up with some experimental firm level capital stock measures that can be used by BLADE users for micro-level productivity measurement and analysis.

Outputs from this project:

Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)

Impact Assessment of Austrade’s services (2019)

This project assists Austrade to establish a set of consistent, objective methodologies designed to provide robust quantitative estimates of the impact of many of Austrade’s services and programs aimed at promoting Australia’s trade and investment. The outcomes can provide evidence for how Austrade assists in strengthening Australia’s export base and investment, while shedding light on the areas requiring further attention.

Understanding structural change: A statistical analysis of the accommodation sector (2018)

This research examines a range of performance metrics for accommodation providers, measuring the extent of change over time and where reliable, providing analysis at the tourism region level. Analysis topics include characteristics of businesses entering and leaving the industry, the extent of change amongst existing businesses and the survival rate of new businesses.

Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics

Research on cost factors in the communications sector (2020)

The project will research the impact of particular costs on key businesses indicators for firms in the telecommunications sector.

Estimating the wider economic benefits of agglomeration (2019)

The wider economic benefits from transport infrastructure projects are a new concept in the practice of transport appraisal. There is currently a need to develop a more robust set of parameter value estimates with which to quantify productivity gains from greater agglomeration caused by transport infrastructure projects. This project will address this need by developing a set of parameter value estimates using the best data available, with nationwide applicability.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Integrated Analysis for Sustainable Regional Development: Northern Australia with Indigenous extension (2018)

This project demonstrates the use of integrated data from the MADIP and BLADE to identify opportunities for regional economic development. The Indigenous extension pilot will seek to provide land and water policy-relevant insights for Indigenous communities and industries of the Darwin region.

Outputs from this research:

Water and society: the relationship between water conditions and regional socio-economic and human health outcomes (2018)

This project makes use of integrated data from the MADIP and BLADE to provide new insights into how water conditions impact socio-economic metrics i.e. taking into account the flow, volume, and allocation of water for a given purpose, and how access to water affects communities. It will prototype benefits through a data-driven, robust and repeatable approach to being able to assess how decisions about water sharing will impact or benefit community and change over time.

Outputs from this research:

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Agriculture Data Integration Project (2019)

This study will develop a better understanding of the effects of climate variability on the productivity and profitability of Australian farms, establishing the relationships between climate conditions (i.e., rainfall and temperature) and farm production and financial outcomes.

Outputs from this research:

Socio Economic Analysis (2019)

This project will mine unit-level data assets held by the ABS (MADIP and BLADE) to create socio-economic profiles that the Department of the Environment and Energy could start to use in decision making as part of its core business. 

Indigenous Environmental Programs (2019)

This project uses integrated data from the MADIP and BLADE to assess, discover and synthesise new evidence in existing government datasets that highlights the return on investment from Australian Government support for Indigenous environmental programs.

Department of Education, Skills and Employment

VET National Data Asset (VNDA) Phase 1 - Measuring the outcomes of Vocational Education and Training (VET) students (2021)

This project will use integrated data from MADIP and BLADE to enhance the evidence base on the employment and social outcomes of VET students in Australia. VET completion and attainment data will be linked to MADIP data to create a longitudinal de-identified student-level dataset. This will support the National Skills Commissioner to provide evidence-based advice to governments on student outcomes and return on government investment. VET completion and attainment data will be linked at the person level to employment data in BLADE to obtain information on the businesses which consume VET services. This will supplement information on the employment outcomes of students, specifically through providing more data on the industry of employment for students and on non-wage earnings outcomes. It will also provide insights on the link between specific qualifications and the industry of employer to ascertain the relevance of training to industry and benefits of VET training to employers. 

Skills Tracker (2021)

This project builds on the Treasury’s Real-Time Labour Market Tracker project. The Labour Market Tracker project uses integrated data from MADIP and BLADE to create a high-quality, high-frequency data asset to monitor the labour market during the current pandemic and associated economic shock. The Skills Tracker project expands on this important resource to inform on emerging shifts in the labour market, the skills held by people without work, and the skilling and re-training needed to get people back into work.

What are the business characteristics of VET providers? (2020)

This project will provide insight into the businesses characteristics of Vocational Education and Training providers who delivered more than 2000 qualifications in 2019.

Characteristics of businesses placed with a job seeker under Job Services Australia (2018)

While government funded employment services help around 30 000 job seekers find jobs each month, little is known about the businesses hiring these job seekers. This project provides Government with a better picture of the characteristics of businesses which hired job seekers under the Job Services Australia model in 2014-15, informing policy development, program delivery and shaping future related research.

Wage subsidies and business dynamics (2018)

This project uses integrated data from the Department of Jobs and Small Business' Employment Services System (ESS) and BLADE to identify the characteristics of businesses that have used wage subsidies provided through the Government’s employment services program to investigate how utilisation of wage subsidies is linked to business dynamics.

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Innovation, collaboration, R&D and business use of digital technology — determinants and impacts (2020)

This project aims to investigate the impact of R&D on innovation and firm performance, the determinants of various types of innovation and the intensity of digital technology use by Australian firms.

Firm Dynamics and Entrepreneurship in Australia (2020)

Firm dynamism and entrepreneurship in Australia has gone through ups and downs. This project will conduct a series of studies to better understand and document firm dynamism using various performance indicators and will analyse factors that might be affecting (improving or hindering) dynamism and entrepreneurship.

R&D spillovers — determinants and impacts (2020)

This project aims to investigate the impacts and determinants of spillover effects of R&D conducted by Australian firms.

DISER Program Analytics Tool (PAT) (2020)

The Program Analytics Tool (PAT) is a new web-based tool which provides valuable insights into businesses that participate in programs run by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER). The tool uses data from the Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE) – a valuable government data asset with information on all actively trading Australian firms. The tool includes data on the characteristics and performance of DISER program participants. The development of PAT increases the transparency of government programs and helps policymakers and other stakeholder groups to take advantage of existing administrative data to understand the client profile of existing programs and inform decisions on designing future programs to assist Australian businesses. The Department plans to release an improved version of PAT in December 2020 by including more up to date data until 2018-19 financial year.

Analysing the Industry Impact of Trade (2020)

This project will investigate the impact of trade on the dynamics and productivity of Australian industries and the position of Australia in the global value chain with an eye on policies such as business growth, trade agreement, international and domestic conditions (e.g. pandemic, carbon tariffs, bushfire etc.). It will also investigate the impacts of global trade reforms on Australian imports and exports by product and country specifications.

Assessing the impact of the Industry Growth Centre (IGC) program (2019)

The project will demonstrate the value of integrated administrative data for program evaluation in the absence of natural experiments. This is an extension of a 2018-19 EDAN project. This new project will assess the impact of the program on the performance of businesses that interacted with IGC relative to a counterfactual. This analysis intends to utilize empirical matching techniques to assess the impact of IGC initiatives on firms’ performance. Findings from this project will help improve the IGC initiative and increase its likelihood of meeting its long term objectives.

Credit Constraints and Entrepreneurship Decline (2019)

In view of the sudden decline in the number of firm entries in Australia between 2005 and 2011, this project will examine the link between entrepreneurship dynamics in Australia and measures of financing constraints. The project will test whether a deterioration in access to credit was behind the decline in entrepreneurship and the increasing risk of exit faced by them. Established methods from the finance literature will be applied to infer financing constraints from firm-level data and use this as the basis of determining key explanatory variable(s). The project aims to demonstrate the extent to which financial constraints and access to finance was driving the observed decline in entrepreneurship. The results will also provide guidance for future policies to counter another decline in firm entry.

Characteristics and determinants of Global Value Chains (GVCs) at the firm level (2019)

This project will look at the characteristics and determinants of GVCs at the  firm level by understanding  the determinants of GVCs, this project will contribute to policy work on lifting the number of Australian firms involved in supply chains, increasing exports and improving adoption of innovation.

Characteristics and performance of foreign owned businesses in Australia (2019)

This project will inform policy by investigating the impact of foreign investment by looking at the relative performance of foreign owned businesses – a key question being considered by the Department’s Northern Australia and Major Projects division. The mining industry has the greatest proportion of businesses that are foreign owned (5.9 per cent). There is policy interest from the Department’s Resources Division into the characteristics of foreign owned mining firms (particularly critical mineral miners), given that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows may also be driven by the desire for access to natural resources. Moreover, policy areas expressed interest in an analysis of battery minerals ownership, the coal sector, the mining sector as a whole and the Mining, Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) Industry Growth Centre sector. An improved understanding of the characteristics and performance of foreign owned companies in Australia will better inform these policy teams and associated programs.

Determinants of innovation by type (2019)

This project aims to understand the key drivers of innovation according to type, e.g.; new goods or services and processes.

Expanding and improving the Program Analytics Tool (PAT) (2019)

This project will build on and improve the PAT prototype, with a view to informing the Productivity Commission’s Trade and Assistance Review publication as well as provide future program data integration guidance to other State and Commonwealth agencies.

Firms that receive multiple instances of assistance from Department of Industry Innovation and Science (DIIS) programs (2019)

DIIS administers many programs, and understanding the extent to which firms participate in more than one program, and in which programs, is important for understanding the impact of each program. The goal of this research is to update and extend work done previously on understanding firms that are participating in multiple DIIS programmes. This includes understanding participation across different time periods and across different programmes. The extension will include assessing the performance of multiple participants compared to other firms.

Industrial Energy Productivity (2019)

This project seeks to understand business energy decisions by investigating micro-level energy productivity, and the extent to which there is an energy productivity gap.

Outsourcing Practices and the New Face of SMEs (2019)

The study will investigate the outsourcing practices of firms in Australia and observe how these practices have changed over time and across different groups of firms. It contemplates two growth paths for small firms; hiring internally and growth, and contract out and grow. It will look for evidence of whether small firms are opting for the latter option in higher numbers now than the earlier years. It will also test whether contracting out has any effect on the wages paid to the internal staff (puts a downward pressure?). The results will help better define small and medium size business and tailor policies to better reflect the needs of each type of firm.

R&D's impact on innovation output (2019)

This project will estimate the influence of R&D on the propensity of firms to introduce innovation, and whether this has changed over time.

R&D spill-over effects by field of research in Australia (2019)

In collaboration with Swinburne University researchers, using state-of-the-art econometric techniques and firm level data, this research project will produce aggregate and detailed estimates of R&D spillovers by field of research in Australia.

Taxonomy of digital intensity (2019)

This project will primarily create scores to understand digital intensity in Australia. The paper also aims to provide evidence on the relationship between use of digital technologies and firm performance to help inform policies aimed at building digital capability and diffusion of digital technologies.

The characteristics of financially weak firms and implications for government program eligibility criteria (2019)

Using BLADE data, this project will examine financially weak firms in Australia, with a focus on their participation in DIIS programs. Broadly defined, financially weak firms are indebted firms that are consistently unable to cover their interest expenses with profits. To survive, these firms need ongoing external capital injections. Some researchers argue that these weak firms should be allowed to fail, especially if they have bleak growth prospects, so that limited capital resources can be directed to more productive uses. Given these implications for efficiency in resource allocation, this project aims to document the extent to which financially weak firms are serviced by DIIS programs and whether program eligibility criteria could be further optimised. This research will attempt to uncover predictors of financial weakness, as well as situations in which financial weak firms have stronger recovery prospects. These findings will assist both the design and implementation stages of policy. 

The impact of current trade wars on the business dynamics of Australian and New Zealand exporters (2019)

Changes to trade policy creates winners and losers, however there is little evidence on the distributional consequences of these changes at the firm level. This project will seek to understand how changing patterns of trade affect business dynamism, in the form of a research paper, using data from Australian and New Zealand firms.

Applying machine learning to impute BLADE (2018)

Incomplete data repositories affect research and have the capacity to bias estimates. This project will develop a Python application to mitigate such bias by using machine learning to intelligently impute missing values in the Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment. Intelligent imputations can enhance the forecastability of Australian firms and their trajectories through the economy.

Output from this project:

  • Paper: Sharpening the BLADE: Missing Data Imputation Using Supervised Machine Learning as part of the AI 2019: Advances in Artificial Intelligence publication which comprises of notable Ai literature from the APAC region for 2019.

Better understanding Industry Growth Centre firms (IGCs) (2018)

This project will paint a clearer picture of the composition of IGCs’ firm characteristics (employment, turnover and value-added, amongst others), and particularly their productivity dynamics and export performance to assess if publicly funded industry and business assistance measures are delivering outcomes as intended.

Business performance of participants in the Tasmanian Innovation and Investment Funds (2018)

The project assesses whether the Tasmanian Innovation and Investment Funds administered between 2008 and 2014 delivered outcomes as intended. This work provides a compact and compelling methodology that can be built upon further to allow for cost-effective analysis of the impacts of government assistance to firms.

Collaborative R&D and firm performance (2018)

This paper examines the impact of collaborative R&D on firms’ value added using fixed effects regression. It estimates how the effects of collaborative R&D accumulate in the years following R&D activity and finds statistically and economically significant benefits emerging after two years.

Comparing R&D data sources (2018)

This project aims to improve understanding of R&D activity in Australia using data from BLADE. The project aims to better gauge drivers of measured R&D and the characteristics of R&D-active firms.

Do manufacturing firms in Australia have (or develop) a productivity advantage? (2018)

This project focuses on entering firms and compares their productivity to other incumbent firms. The project will also characterise young firms that are more productive than incumbents and highlight the role of industry and innovation clusters in developing this productivity advantage.

Output from this research:

Drivers of the changes in Australian entrepreneurship trends (2018)

Integrated firm level data products such as BLADE offer increasing opportunities for insights into the economy, allowing analysis of elements of productivity performance such as entrepreneurship, innovation and management capability. In light of a decline in entrepreneurship, this study aims to find reasons why the number of entrepreneurs has declined and increase the evidence base needed to inform policy.

Output from this research:

Government financial assistance as a catalyst for private financing (2018)

This project uses the Taxation Data and Business Characteristics Survey components of the BLADE to determine whether government assistance has an impact on a firm’s credit worthiness, and therefore its ability to obtain external financing. The findings will shed light on the indirect benefits of government financial assistance, and provide evidence to facilitate better use of public funds, leading to more targeted policies and programs.

Output from this research:

International entrepreneurship: evidence on Australian born global firms (2018)

This research explores the characteristics of 'born global' firms, including the relationship between firm size, age, export status and growth. The results from the research can assist relevant policy areas to better target policies aimed at export promotion and entrepreneurship, potentially providing exposure for Australian firms to larger markets, innovation, technology and competition.

Multi-country Collaboration Projects (Business R&D structure and dynamics, and the impact of public support for business R&D) (2018)

Australia engages with international organisations and contributes to their reports on comparative studies of R&D, productivity, job creation, and innovation across countries. There are two projects that DISER is collaborating on: OECD’s MicroBERD and PRN’s Compnet. Both projects involve running supplied code on microdata and providing a set of aggregate data cubes, simple statistics and regression results. These data will be collated with data from other countries and used for policy and advice and also published as reports.

Patterns and determinants of innovation by novelty (2018)

This project aims to improve our understanding of the drivers of business innovation by novelty (novelty = new to world, new to Australia, new to market, new to industry and new to firm) by examining the determinants of each type of innovation. The analysis will identify and assess recent innovation dynamics in Australia that can inform policy makers in adapting and refining policies designed to encourage innovation in the Australian economy.

Program Analytics Tool (PAT) (2018)

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science's Program Analytics Tool (PAT) allows policy makers and other users to understand the patterns of departmental assistance and the characteristics of assisted firms. This work is designed to enable refinement of current departmental programs, the design and delivery of future programs as well as increasing these programs' accessibility and transparency.

Output from this project:

Strategic management in Australian firms (2018)

To improve understanding of management capability in Australia and facilitate self-assessment within firms, this project develops a simple classification for strategic management using a cross section of the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Management and Organisational Capabilities Module. This measure of strategic management correlates strongly with broader management practices and with a separately constructed, data-driven summary measure of management practices created using multiple correspondence analysis. The strategic management classification is positively associated with: rates of innovation; search for collaborative opportunities; responsiveness to skill and supply chain issues, and labour productivity at the firm level.

Output from this project:

The balance sheet health and debt servicing ability of Australian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) – Insights from administrative data (2018)

This paper uses BLADE data to assess the financial performance, balance sheet health and survivability of employing SMEs over the period 2001-02 to 2015-16. There is evidence that small firms (those with 1 to 19 employees) and persistently loss-making SMEs suffered disproportionately during the last serious period of economic turmoil (the Global Financial Crisis years of 2008-9 to 2010-11). As such they remain the most vulnerable to any future shocks, and are a potential target for future government support.

The impact of the Research & Development Tax Incentive (R&DTI) on the composition and success of research (2018)

This research assesses whether the R&D Tax incentive program is leading to an increase in expenditure on R&D, and also whether it affects the composition of R&D conducted by Australian firms. The findings from this work can help to improve targeting and efficacy of government support for businesses.

Trends in Market Concentration of Australian Industries (2018)

This project looks at changes in the concentration of Australian industries and makes comparisons with other countries. The research aims to identify and characterise the types of industries where market concentration is increasing.

Output from this research:

What drives high growth? Characteristics of Australian Firms (2018)

erstanding high-growth firms is important as these types of firms have contributed most of the sales and value-add in the Australian economy over the past decade. This project estimates the impact of innovation and other business characteristics on turnover growth, focussing on the roles of innovation and research and development in driving turnover. Using unique unit record data and advanced panel data techniques, the patterns, characteristics and determinants of high-growth firms in Australia are examined.

Output from this project:

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Workplace Relations (2020)

This project is designed to support the Government as it prepares for Workplace Relations reform. Initial work is designed to establish key facts and figures about the make-up of the Australian Labour Market and the conditions under which Australians are working. The project will start by performing industry/sector comparisons around how employees and contractors are paid, including their working conditions, methods of setting pay and the characteristics of these businesses and employees.

PM&C Data Analysis (2020)

This project provides PM&C analysts with access to integrated microdata from MADIP and BLADE, enabling up-to-date analysis and provision of timely advice to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on emerging policy issues, including informing COVID-19 response and recovery.

Business use of federal government assistance (2019)

This project explores the range of the association between business characteristics (e.g. industry, state, urban/regional location, business size) and participation in a range of government assistance programs. This work will assist with understanding the service landscape and how it can be better coordinated.

Migration’s impact on Australian society (2019)

This project uses integrated data from the MADIP and BLADE to explore various impacts of international migration on Australia. It will aim to contribute to the evidence base for a broad range of policies, including migration program planning, migration labour market rules, and Commonwealth revenue management.

Characteristics and outcomes for businesses and employment in regions with early NBN rollout (2018)

This project will address the possible impact early NBN roll-out had in creating or influencing businesses and employment in regions.

Pathways for workers affected by industry downturn (2018)

This project examines the different pathways workers take when they are the subject of an industry downturn, with the aim of supporting economic structural adjustment policy measures based on the factors that limit or enable successful transitions for affected workers.

Recovery or decline? Examining the socio-economic impacts of drought (2018)

Using data from MADIP and BLADE, the project examines regional recovery from the millennium drought. The project explores a number of socio-economic factors in three drought affected Eastern Australia locations.

The impact of company tax cuts on Australian businesses (2018)

This project uses BLADE to examine business performance and the impact of company tax changes, initially focusing on changes since July 2015 when the tax rate for Australian businesses with a turnover of less than $2 million was lowered from 30 per cent to 28.5 per cent. Outcomes from this project will contribute to understanding the impacts of favourable tax treatment on small businesses.

Data61 Fellowship Programme (host agency for this research project: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet)

Using machine learning on characteristics of small and medium sized Australian exports to design a tailored behavioural intervention (2018)

Recognising the high annual turnover rate of export market firm entry and exit, this project characterises small and medium sized Australian exporters and designs a personalised intervention to improve their business performance using causal analysis and unsupervised machine learning. It also outlines a randomised controlled trial protocol to evaluate that intervention. Ultimately, this project represents a new research approach to designing and evaluating personalised behavioural interventions for discrete populations.

Geoscience Australia

Supporting development of a natural disaster impact forecasting capability (2018)

This project will produce a stronger evidence base for decisions about disaster mitigation and recovery investments, with the aim to reduce future disaster impacts through better informed policies. It will combine data available across Commonwealth and State Government portfolios and enable a better understanding of costs to, and services provided by the Australian Government to communities and businesses beyond direct relief and recovery payments in disaster affected regions.

This project made use of integrated data from the MADIP and BLADE data assets.

Outputs from this research:

IP Australia

Australian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Intellectual Property (IP) rights (2020)

This research proposes to investigate whether intellectual property rights (IPRs) have a positive impact on Australian small and medium enterprise (SMEs) in terms of their performance in employment, turnover and productivity growth. In addition, the research aims to determine whether SMEs IP activities can be used as an indicator to assess their growth potential. IP rights such as patents, trademarks and industrial designs allow SMEs to appropriate the results of their creativity, inventiveness and R&D investment and create an incentive for further investment in innovation. However, IPRs can also be a costly venture, especially for SMEs that have relatively less resources to obtain and maintain IPRs compared with large enterprise. Therefore, research is needed to determine whether SMEs can leverage their IP rights to grow and perform better.

Trademarks and exporting: evidence from Australian microdata (2019)

The purpose of this project is to investigate how trademark use impacts the export behaviour and performance of Australian businesses. It also aims to profile: (i) how the characteristics of trademark-using businesses/exporters differ from non-trademark-using businesses/exporters (in terms of the level of employment, turnover, productivity, investment, etc.); (ii) whether trademark use impacts business survival probability; and (iii) which industries and geographic locations have a higher/lower than average concentration of trademarks and what factors could explain such differences. Its findings will inform export promotion policies and programs.

IP rights, business profitability and competition (2018)

By studying the impact of IP rights on business performance, this research aims to understand the incentive structure faced by economic agents as they seek to secure IP rights. The research will investigate: (i) the performance characteristics (in terms of turnover, employment, investment, etc.) of businesses with IP rights; (ii) how the performance of businesses with IP rights change over time; and (iii) whether businesses with IP rights perform better than otherwise similar businesses without IP rights.

IP rights, business mark-ups and competition (2018)

This project, by examining the relationship between business mark-ups and IP activity, aims to shed light on how IP rights affect competition across industries. The project is aligned with the Government’s response to the 2016 Productivity Commission inquiry into Australia’s Intellectual Property Arrangements. It will also inform future policy responses to the Competition Policy Review (2015).

Murray-Darling Basin Authority

Water and Society Extension Project (2019)

The Water and Society project uses integrated data from the MADIP and BLADE to explore the relationship between water conditions (flow, volume, connectivity and allocations) and regional socio-economic and human health outcomes.

Productivity Commission

2021 Productivity Reporting (2021)

This project supports the Productivity Commission’s research and reporting functions, including inquiries. BLADE is assisting the Productivity Commission to dig deeper into specific industries for bespoke productivity and performance analysis across a range of publications.

COVID 19 recovery (2020)

The Productivity Commission is using BLADE and MADIP to help guide research in COVID-19 economic recovery. As the Commission explores structural changes and economic reform, BLADE and MADIP will help inform the potential effects across business and the Australian population.

Vulnerable Supply Chains (2020)

The Productivity Commission is using integrated data from MADIP and BLADE to research the indications of vulnerable supply chains, the impacts if one of these chains were to be broken, and the potential preventative strategies to mitigate these risks.

Firm-level insights into Australia’s productivity performance (2019)

This study will consider patterns of business entry and exit rates, and the contribution of small and large businesses to industry productivity growth.

Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)

COVID-19 Economic Analysis (2020)

To analyse the economic impact of recent COVID-19 outbreak on Australian trade – to support policy response.

How do businesses respond to shocks and change (2019)

This project seeks to investigate how Australian businesses and labour markets respond to macroeconomic shocks and longer-term structural change.

Business Finance and Growth (2018)

This project explores how Australian businesses manage their balance sheets and how their financial structure affects various outcomes like investment, growth and survival. The financial structure of Australian businesses is important for understanding their resilience to financial shocks and their investment behaviour. Most existing research is based on the financial structure of publicly listed companies. But less than 1 in 1000 firms is a publicly listed company, so it is unclear how applicable these results are to the broader business population. There is also limited information on the extent to which Australian firms are financially constrained. This project provides the first direct estimates of self reported constraints based on business surveys.

Outputs from this project:

Business Productivity, Competition and Dynamism (2018)

This project is designed to assess the causes and effects of changes in business productivity in Australia. The project is divided into separate parts that explore the nature of firm-level production functions, the underlying trends in business entry and exit, profit mark-ups and rent sharing. Each of these projects is important to analysing and forecasting the business cycle, inflation and long-run potential growth.

Outputs from this project:

The Treasury

Wages and hours in the Australian labour market (2021)

This project will investigate structural drivers of employment outcomes and firm performance, to inform advice about the medium-term outlook and new policy proposals. In particular, Treasury analysts will analyse the relationships between employment outcomes and characteristics, such as hours worked, wages paid and methods of setting pay and, with these data linked to BLADE, business characteristics, such as industry of origin, productivity, rent-sharing and the like.

Real-time Labour Market Tracker – Phase 1 and 2 (2020)

As the economy recovers from the COVID-19 shock, it will be crucial to understand developments in the labour market. While numerous datasets are currently being used to monitor the labour market, high-quality high-frequency administrative datasets are not being fully exploited. The purpose of this project is to extract greater value from MADIP and BLADE by integrating them into a data asset that can be used to monitor numerous aspects of the labour market, in as close to real time as possible. This will help to inform forecasts, and policy development and assessment, by allowing an examination of how the labour market is tracking relative to what is expected.

Assessing potential effects of COVID on firms (2020)

COVID, and associated health restrictions, had a substantial effect on firms. This project aims to understand the potential effect of the virus, and associated policies, on firms in terms of their profitability and liquidity, based on firm’s past financial positions and trends. This can help to support policy-making related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From Macro to Micro: The drivers of multi-factor productivity (MFP) growth in Australia (2019)

This project will use firm-level data from BLADE to better understand the micro-drivers of aggregate MFP growth in Australia. Productivity growth is one of the key drivers of future living standards, and this analysis can help to enhance government services by identifying structural reform opportunities.

Product and Labour Market Concentration: implications for the Australian economy (2019)

This project will use microdata to explore trends in labour and product market concentration in Australia. The analysis will help policy makers to better understand trends in labour and product market concentration, which has implications for wage and productivity growth, and will help inform policy making.

Trade Tensions and Firm Performance (2019)

This project is intended to help to us to understand the impacts external shocks on the Australian economy in a broad sense, but also more directly on firms, industries and regions. To do so, the project will try to examine a number of aspects of trade, including: the geographic concentration of firm exports; the ability for firms to change export markets; the geographic concentration of certain export industries within Australia; and the effect of foreign shocks, such as demand shocks, exchange rate shocks, and tariff changes, on firms performance and productivity.

Wage growth in Australia: lessons from longitudinal microdata (2019)

This project explores the extent to which changes in micro-mechanisms – such as the wages-productivity link and job switching patterns – can explain low aggregate wage growth. It will help policy makers better understand one of the major macro-economic challenges of our time – low wage growth, which is critical due its bearing on individual wellbeing, tax revenues and potential implications for policy making.

Outputs from this research:

Firming up Productivity in Australia (2018)

This project involves policy-relevant research into the micro-drivers of labour productivity growth to provide a stronger foundation to the Australian growth narrative.A body of evidence will be produced for use by Australian economic policy makers, particularly issues relating to micro-economic policy, with the aim of boosting living standards via productivity-enhancing reforms.

‘Reaching for the Stars’: Aussie firms and the global productivity frontier (2018)

This project investigates the productivity performance of Australian firms against OECD research showing a global productivity slowdown, and is part of a broader government initiative on productivity. The research will allow policy makers to better understand and support dynamic and resilient industries and firms.

State and Territory Government

City of Gold Coast Council

Economic impact of exports for the Gold Coast (2020)

The project aims to measure the contribution of international exports to the Gold Coast economy and further understand the characteristics of exporting businesses. The outcomes will inform improved decision making for the delivery of economic development initiatives that will support and develop exporting businesses across sectors.

New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet

Post Bushfire recovery construction capacity constraints (2020)

This project aims to understand the ability of local construction firms to deliver the anticipated program of works in their area of operations.

Construction Industry Capacity Constraints (2018)

The purpose of this work is to better understand the consequences of major infrastructure spend, eg: whether it builds long term capacity in the construction industry, how the effects of capacity building are distributed geographically and regional impacts of major construction works. This work analyses the costs and benefits of major construction work in the context of construction costs as a whole.

Firm Level Productivity and its drivers (2018)

This project is intended to be an empirical analysis to understand the productivity and competitiveness of firms, industries and regions in NSW, as well as their drivers. In particular it focusses on the role location plays in firm level productivity. This work can help the NSW Government formulate targeted interventions to create economic conditions favourable to increasing firm productivity and competitiveness.

New South Wales Treasury

NSW Employment Dynamics (2019)

This project is the exploratory phase of an ongoing data analytics project to better understand firm level job creation and destruction in NSW (and Australia). The findings of this project will contribute to the development of a robust evidence base regarding firm employment dynamics, informing further analyses and policy development. The first phase of the project is intended to be an exploratory analysis of longitudinal job creation and destruction across NSW and Australia. The overarching research question relates to identifying the subsets of firms (eg. young, small, specific industries) that are the greatest net creators of jobs.

Productivity insights: firm-level performance and characteristics (2018)

This ongoing project for the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council uses BLADE to analyse firm-level performance and characteristics to better understand productivity, growth and economic outcomes of Australian firms by cohort (eg: nationally, by state and territory, sub-state region and industry). This research will address: firm-level productivity, growth and economic contribution amongst various firm cohorts and drivers of change in productivity growth. It will look at correlation between measures, shared characteristics, the impacts of structural changes and include analysis at sub-state regional and firm levels.

Queensland Productivity Commission

The COVID-19 Impact on business trade in Queensland (2020)

To analyse the economic impact of COVID-19 on Queensland trade.

South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet

Industry and Employment Dynamics in South Australia - update (2020)

More informed economic development policy and program evaluation will enhance well-being for South Australians through effective government programs. 

This project will update the integration of data from the Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE) and South Australian Business Research Environment (SABRE) (formally Return to Work SA datasets) with person-level data from the Multi Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP). The project follows successful completion of a pilot study and aims to create an evidence base to better understand overall employment and industry performance in South Australia and inform economic policy development and program evaluation.

The project is being coordinated by the SA Department of Premier and Cabinet but involves agencies across SA Government with a range of policy questions. 

Industry and Employment Dynamics in South Australia (2018)

This is a pilot project, integrating data from BLADE with South Australian Government datasets for the financial year 2015/16. It assesses the feasibility of creating an evidence base to better understand overall employment and industry performance in South Australia, and inform economic policy development. This analysis is expected to enhance well-being for South Australians through effective government programs, and evaluate the cost benefit of and potential future utility of the integrated datasets for informing public policy.

Victoria Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions

The characteristics of Victorian businesses (2021)

This project will use BLADE to create detailed industry profiles for future use, perform empirical analysis on changes in the economy affect businesses, and simulate the effect of possible changes.

Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet

State and Territory economic trend and labour market analysis (2021)

The project uses integrated data from the MADIP and BLADE to investigate employment and unemployment impacts of COVID-19 at a more granular (microdata) level to help support Australia’s economic recovery and improve targeting of employment and training programs at the State and Territory level. 

Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance

Understanding business failures (2020)

This project explored the factors that influence the survival of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). This project worked to identify determinants of business failures (such as age, size and financial ratios) and quantify the marginal effect of each factor. More importantly, how these marginal effects change as macroeconomic conditions improve/deteriorate.

Academic Institutions

Australian National University

Employment effects of the JobKeeper program (2020)

The project uses integrated data from MADIP and BLADE to assess how many jobs were saved under the JobKeeper policy, controlling for other business support measures that were available contemporaneously. Over time, and in addition to this objective, the data will enable a comprehensive analysis of the business support measures initiated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Taxation, Employment, and the Performance of Australian Businesses in the Age of Pandemic (2021)

This project will investigate the potential change in the responding pattern of Australian businesses to taxation policies and more flexible employment schemes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The role of credit constraints in the labour decisions of small and medium-sized firms (2019)

The project aims to investigate the channels through which financial shocks affect firm-level decisions about employment both on the intensive and extensive market.  The intention is that the outcomes will demonstrate the value of academic research using BLADE for producing policy-relevant research.

Bond University

Non-Financial Performance Measurement and Organisational Outcomes (2020)

This project explores the effects of non-financial performance measurement on organisational outcomes by using state of the art causal inference methods. The purpose is to understand if and how non-financial performance measurement is able to assist SMEs to improve their financial and non-financial performance.

Deakin University

Examining the competitive structure of Australia’s food value chain (2021)

This research aims to explore the competitive structure of Australia’s food value chain, with a specific focus on comparing fresh food and processed food pathways. Observed differences in the two pathways within Australia’s food value chain will be discussed in relation to how they could enable or impede the promotion of healthier food value chains and food environments in Australia.

Innovation Quality and Tax Incentives (2020)

This project examines whether R&D tax incentives schemes are effective at promoting greater corporate innovation activities, as measured by their patenting and trademarking output. The project will inform policy makers on the effectiveness of existing schemes aimed at incentivizing private sector innovation.

Small Business White Paper 2021: Post COVID Policy Options for Australia (2020)

The IPA-Deakin SME Research Centre, Deakin University, is proposing to release a “Small Business White Paper 2021: Post-COVID Policy Options for Australia” in April 2021. The proposed Small Business White Paper 2021 (SBWP-2021) project will build on and update some of the content and recommendations provided in the White Papers released in 2015 and 2018.

Griffith University

Community and Industry Vulnerability to COVID-19 (2020)

This project will explore community and industry vulnerability to COVID-19 with a focus on which and to what extent different communities and industry sectors are affected by the ensuing economic downturn.

Queensland University of Technology

Understanding Small Business Success and Viability in Australia (2021)

This project, in collaboration with the Australian Tax Office (ATO), aims to conduct research in the engagement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) with the ATO and how to improve on these practices in order to increase the survival rate of SME’s.

Entrepreneurial Quality Index Modelling for Australia and Advance Queensland Program Evaluation (2020)

There is an increasing appreciation for the role that innovation-driven entrepreneurship plays in delivering Australia’s economic growth and the centrality of start-up dynamism as a catalyst for the next stage of Australian economic performance. Importantly, though local and state governments are progressively engaging in policies and initiatives supporting the growth of regional entrepreneurial ecosystems, Australia has yet to undertake a systematic and granular assessment of these ecosystems, and the role that policy and initiatives play in shaping Australian economic performance. This project will develop Entrepreneurial Quality Index Modelling for Australia and undertake an evaluation of the Advance Queensland program to guide future investment in innovation-driven entrepreneurship in Australia.

Swinburne University

Investment Characteristics of Successful Innovative Businesses (2021)

This project analyses whether businesses’ investments in intangible assets leads to improved business performance and growth. We expect that intangible investments vis-à-vis tangible investment will perform differently as they: can be non-rivalrous (i.e. scalable such as brands, software); can deliver market power (e.g. intellectual property); are heterogeneous (e.g. know-how); but are more uncertain and non-mortgageable.

Innovation in the Manufactured Food Sector (2020)

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), is collaborating with Swinburne University to better understand the importance of product innovation to achieving an efficient, internationally competitive food industry and how this further supports Australian and New Zealand exports.

Design Rights / Economic effect of Design Rights on design-intensive firms (2019)

This project will analyse the economic effect of Design Rights on design-intensive firms. Specifically:

  1. Change in the term of protection for designs under the Designs Act 2003.
  2. Changes to firm performance of Design Right holders following the change in jurisdiction to the Federal Magistrates Court/Federal Circuit Court in 2013.
  3. The (un) availability of unregistered protection for designs in the form of copyright post 2004 for industries which used copyright to protect designs.

Evaluate the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage program (2018)

The project aims to evaluate the effect of the ARC Linkage program on the performance of partnering businesses and to estimate the effect the program has on related businesses (competitors, suppliers and customers).

Building on previous project outputs:

Research & Development (R&D) ‘Spillovers’ investigation (2017)

In economic terms, ‘spillovers’ (also known as externalities) occur where the effects of an economic activity accrue to both those undertaking the activity, as well as to others. This project aims to estimate the value of R&D spillovers for Australian firms, focussing on sectoral differences, differences in firm size and the overall level of R&D spillovers occurring in the Australian economy.

Building on previous project outputs:

University of Adelaide

Benchmarking Riverland Viticultural Businesses in Australia (2020)

This project is part of a wider project towards the development of a Digital Vineyard Guidance System that will help growers optimise production processes, manage risks and drive continual improvements in vineyard profitability and sustainability. The guidance system represents a technology ‘platform’ that can provide real-time information on current and projected future status across a vineyard—at high spatial and temporal resolutions and across a broader variety of variables of interest—as well and will provide the basis for optimising farm management decisions.

University of New England

Drivers of innovation, dynamics of innovation persistence and performance: The case of food industry businesses in Australia (2020)

This research dissertation investigates the dynamic relationships among the key drivers of innovation, innovation persistence and business performance within food industry businesses in Australia. Specifically, this dissertation provides evidence on: (1) the factors driving the food businesses to innovate in any of the four innovation dimensions—goods and services, organisational and managerial processes, operational processes and marketing methods; (2) the degree and dynamics of innovation persistence; and (3) their impacts on four business performance measures—gross output, gross value-added, labour productivity and productivity dispersion.

University of New South Wales

Firm dynamics and hiring practices (2020)

The project will explore the relationship between firm performance and employment decisions.

University of Queensland

Job creation in Australia: The role of Small Businesses (2020)

This research project aims to investigate the distribution of employment in small firms across industries and whether or not having a large fraction of small businesses in an industry can predict the degree of job creation or destruction within that industry.

The Nature of Firm Growth in Australia: The Role of Ex-Ante vs Ex-Post Factors (2020)

In Australia and in the rest of the world, a large number of start-up businesses fail early and those that survive grow at very different speeds. These differences in business exit and growth can be attributed to either ex-ante heterogeneity (e.g., differences in the qualities of business ideas) or ex-post factors (e.g., shocks to demand or productivity). Using microdata in BLADE, this project aims to measure the importance of ex-ante and ex-post factors in explaining firm dynamics in Australia by extending the methodology in Pugsley et al. (2020). These findings will allow us to: (1) shed light on the sources of decline in Australia's business dynamism over the last two decades, and (2) inform ongoing debates on business tax reform.

References:
Pugsley, B. W., P. Sedláček, and V. Sterk (2020). The Nature of Firm Growth. Working paper.

Predicting the Value and Use of Urban Land (2019)

This project seeks to reduce state government revenue risks and improve resource management through accurate predictions of land values. The first phase of the project involves the analysis of the MADIP and BLADE data.

University of Technology Sydney

Management Capability and Firm Performance (2020)

This proposal builds on the Management Capability Survey that UTS developed partnering with DIIS and two separate DIPA analysis projects funded by DIIS namely,

  1. Management capabilities SCORES (MCS) project in 2017-18; and
  2. Management capability, firm performance, firm size evolution, and survival project dataset based on BLADE (based on the 2015-16 ABS Business Register Frame).

As an extension of these DIPA analysis projects, UTS now wishes to extend this research agenda in new directions not covered by these earlier projects but still related and also leveraging this knowledge using the management capability scores in conjunction with ABS  datasets in various forms to improve the public’s understanding of the drivers of business performance on the Australian economy.

Outputs from this research:

Management capability, firm performance, firm size evolution and survival (2018)

This project aims to improve understanding of the drivers of business performance in the Australian economy by investigating links between management capability and firm performance variables and characteristics, such as labour productivity, turnover growth, firm size evolution and survival. It will provide insight into the relationship between management capability and firm performance, inform the role of government in improving Australia’s management capability and demonstrates the utility of BLADE management capability data.

University of Western Australia

From Micro to Macro: Understanding how microeconomic shocks cause aggregate macroeconomic fluctuations (2020)

This project uses integrated data from the MADIP and BLADE to investigate how microeconomic shocks affect the macroeconomy. The analysis measures the extent to which shocks to important sectors propagate and amplify via other sectors of the Australian economy that are dependent on one another. Quantifying the aggregate impact of sectoral interdependence is important for both microeconomic and macroeconomic policy.