The Federal Reserve Board of Governors (FRB) announces its intention to renew the authority of Federal Reserve Banks to conduct periodic business surveys on economic conditions and other topics. FRB invites comments on its proposal, as well as a draft survey of business plans, by March 5, 2020.
A sample survey of business plans is available at https://www.federalreserve.gov/reportforms/formsreview/FR%201374%20Draft%20Form.pdf
. AEA members are invited to suggest business survey topics and questions.
The FRB supporting statement describing purpose and methods can be seen at https://www.federalreserve.gov/reportforms/formsreview/FR%201374%20OMB%20SS.pdf
Under the guidance of Board staff, the Reserve Banks survey business contacts as economic developments warrant. . . . It is necessary to conduct these surveys to provide timely information to the members of the Board, and to the presidents of the Reserve Banks. Usually, these surveys are conducted by Reserve Bank economists telephoning or e-mailing purchasing managers, economists, or other knowledgeable individuals at selected, relevant businesses. Reserve Bank staff may also use online survey tools to collect responses to the survey. The frequency and content of the questions, as well as the entities contacted, vary depending on developments in the economy. The draft reporting form provides a sample of the types of questions used in a previous survey to illustrate the format of these surveys. Second, economists at the Board survey business contacts by telephone, inquiring about current business conditions. Board economists conduct these surveys as economic conditions require, with approximately ten respondents for each survey.
The topics discussed with the respondents are time sensitive, and the questions vary with the topic. There is no reporting form because the questions typically change with each survey. For each survey, the Federal Reserve prepares questions in advance of specific topical interest and determines a relevant target group of firms to contact. If conducted by telephone, the discussions could last up to twenty minutes, with the typical conversation lasting approximately fifteen minutes. If conducted using email or an online survey tool, the response times are likely to be shorter. Each Reserve Bank tabulates its survey results and sends them to the Board. The Board then compiles the Reserve Bank-level results into an overall summary memo. The tabulation and the summary, along with the submissions from the individual Reserve Banks, are then circulated to the members of the Board and Reserve Bank presidents. Each Reserve Bank may use its own district-level results for any official business purposes, including research that leads to publication, to the extent consistent with any confidentiality commitments made to the contacts.
The AEAStat primer on how to respond to a call for comments on a federal data collection is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806