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Nov 23 -- The Census Bureau invites public comment to OMB by December 24, 2021 on its request that OMB approve its proposal to conduct the Management and Organizational Practices Survey (MOPS) 2021.
The 2021 Management and Organizational Practices Survey (MOPS) will be conducted as a joint project by the Census Bureau, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences, and the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. The MOPS will utilize the Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) sample and collect information on management and organizational practices at the establishment level. Data obtained from the survey will allow the Census Bureau to estimate a firm's stock of management and organizational assets, specifically the use of establishment performance data, such as production targets in decision-making and the prevalence of decentralized decision rights. The results will provide information on investments in management and organizational practices thus providing a better understanding of the benefits from these investments when measured in terms of firm productivity or firm market value.

The MOPS has been conducted periodically since 2010 and provides a linkage to the Census Bureau's data sets on plant level outcomes. Since every establishment in the MOPS sample is also in the ASM, the results of MOPS 2015 were linked with certainty to annual performance data at the plant level, including outcomes on sales, shipments, payroll, employment, inventories, capital expenditure, and more for the period 2014-2018. There is no other source for the MOPS data collection.

Understanding the determinants of productivity growth is essential to understanding the dynamics of the U.S. economy. The MOPS provides information to assist in determining whether the large and persistent differences in productivity across establishments (even within the same industry) are partly driven by differences in management and organizational practices. In addition to increasing the understanding of the dynamics of the economy, MOPS data can provide insight to policymakers interested in productivity growth or other metrics of business performance into the current state of management and organizational practices in the U.S. manufacturing sector. This insight could inform economic forecasts or policies.

The MOPS provides information on differences in manufacturing management and organizational practices by region, industry, and firm size. These results can be used by U.S. manufacturing businesses to benchmark their own management and organizational practices relative to their peers and inform changes in those practices. The survey sponsors have used the published tables and methodology documentation to set up a self-scoring tool for benchmarking purposes. Similarly, interested businesses can use the published tables to examine how their implementation of specific practices compares to national rates of adoption or use published tables in conjunction with the methodology documentation to evaluate how their use of structured management practices compares to subsector, state, establishment size class, and establishment age class. Industry trade organizations may also wish to communicate this information to their members. For example, a printing industry publication communicated the results of the 2015 MOPS (https://whattheythink.com/​data/​85108-printing-industry-defined-managemen/​), and economic development agencies in Wisconsin cited the state's ranking in the 2015 MOPS when announcing a program aimed at increasing manufacturing productivity in the state (https://biztimes.com/​new-initiative-aimed-at-addressing-manufacturing-productivity/​). Since the MOPS data are also connected with annual performance data, the MOPS results can directly aid policy discussions regarding what policymakers can do to assist U.S. manufacturing companies as they react to a changing economy.

The 2021 MOPS includes a new purchased services module on the establishment's use of its own employees, contractors, temporary staff, or leased workers for select business expenses. These data will help the Census Bureau, businesses, and policymakers understand the relationship between an important organizational decision—what activities are the responsibility of the business's own employees and what activities are contracted to other businesses—and business outcomes such as growth and survivorship when linked with the ASM, Economic Census, and Business Register.

For the 2021 MOPS, the Data and Decision Making module has been modified to remove some existing components and expanded to include questions focused on the frontier uses of data to inform artificial intelligence. As such, the module has been re-titled “Data, Decision Making, and Artificial Intelligence.” Understanding the characteristics of businesses that rely upon data in making decisions helps businesses and policymakers understand the role that data collection and analysis play in business outcomes. By producing statistics on the use of frontier technologies for decision making, the Census Bureau can help businesses and policymakers identify potential use cases for these technologies. In addition, the Census Bureau can better plan future collections and reduce respondent burden if it understands how businesses retain and analyze their own data.

Additionally, the 2021 MOPS includes three questions added to the background characteristics module inquiring about an establishment's use of an external Certified Public Accountant. Use of an external Certified Public Accountant affects how businesses retain and review their own data, which can have implications for management practices and can help the Census Bureau plan future collections and reduce respondent burden.

The 2021 MOPS simplified questions on the location of decision-making in multi-location firms in the organization module by combining them into a single table and removing write-in responses, removed some forecasting questions in the uncertainty module, removed two background characteristic questions, and removed all questions regarding a five-year recall period.
The 2021 MOPS was developed as a partnership between the Census Bureau and an external research team that includes John Barrios (Washington University in St. Louis), Nicholas Bloom (Stanford University), Erik Brynjolfsson (Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence), Steven Davis (University of Chicago Booth School of Business), Kristina McElheran (University of Toronto), Michael Minnis (University of Chicago Booth School of Business), John Van Reenen (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Raffaella Sadun (Harvard Business School). The external research team provided their expert feedback and input regarding the modifications made to the MOPS.     
MOPS website: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/mops.html
2021 MOPS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202111-0607-002 Click IC List for survey form, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comment through this site.
FR notice inviting public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/11/23/2021-25577/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-to-the-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-for
Point of contact:  Marlo Thornton, Assistant Division Chief, Economy-Wide Statistics Division, Census Bureau marlo.n.thornton@census.gov 301-763-7170
For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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