Measuring Technology Adoption in Enterprise-Level Surveys: The Annual Business Survey
AbstractThe Annual Business Survey (ABS) started in 2017 and, in its first collection year, will provide an economy-wide view of technology from its sample of almost 850,000 firms across almost all sectors of the economy. The ABS is conducted by the Census Bureau in partnership with National Center for Science Engineering Statistics (NCSES) and replaces the Survey of Business Owners (SBO), Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs (ASE) and the Business R&D and Innovation Survey for Microbusinesses (BRDI-M). In addition to regularly occurring questions, the 2017 ABS includes a module of questions on the adoption and use of new technologies. The technology module was developed by the Census Bureau and a group of external researchers who specialize in technology adoption by firms and its effects. This paper describes the development of this module and some of the challenges faced by Census, including which technologies to collect data on, how to define certain technologies, what types of measures
(extensive versus intensive) and what time frame to use for the adoption and use of the technologies. We describe how the cognitive testing of the survey was performed and how companies interpreted questions posed by Census and the external collaborators. We also discuss how the module fits in with current Census data collection efforts to better measure technology in the Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM), as well as Annual Capital Expenditures Survey (ACES). Future versions of the paper will provide results from this survey.