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The Longitudinal Research Database (LRD): Status And Research Possibilities


  • Robert H Mcguckin
  • George A Pascoe


This paper discusses the development and use of the Longitudinal Research Data available at the Center for Economic Studies of the Bureau of the Census in terms of what has been accomplished thus far, what projects are currently in progress, and what plans are in place for the near future. The major achievement to date is the construction of the database itself, which contains data for manufacturing establishments collected by the Census in 1963, 1967, 1972, 1977 and 1982, and the Annual Survey of Manufactures for non-Census years from 1973 to 1985. These data now reside in the Center's computer in a consistent format across all years. In addition, a large software development task that greatly simplifies the task of selecting subsets of the database for specific research projects is well underway. Finally, a number of powerful microcomputers have been purchased for use by researchers for their statistical analysis. Current efforts underway at the Center include research on such policy-relevant issues as mergers and their impact on profits and production, high technology trade, import competition, plant level productivity, entry and exit, and productivity differences between large and small firms. Due to the confidentiality requirements of the Census data, most of their research is performed by Center staff and Special Sworn Employees. Under certain circumstances, the Center accepts user-written programs from outside researchers. These routines are executed by Center staff, and the resultant output is reviewed thoroughly for disclosure problems. The Center is also an active member of a task force working on methods on release "masked" or "cloned" microdata in public-use files that will protect the confidentiality of the data while at the same time provide a research tool for outside users. The Center research program contributes directly to future research possibilities. The current batch of research projects is adding insight into the nature of the LRD database. This information is continually being incorporated into the Center's software system, thus facilitating yet more research activity. Moreover, since a good portion of the research involves linking the Longitudinal Research Data to other data files, such as the NSF/Census R&D data, the scope of the databases is continually being expanded. Furthermore, the Center is exploring the possibility of linking the demographic data collected by the Census Bureau to the LRD database.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert H Mcguckin & George A Pascoe, 1988. "The Longitudinal Research Database (LRD): Status And Research Possibilities," Working Papers 88-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:88-2

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