Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE)

BLADE (formally known as EABLD) is an enduring firm-level statistical asset. It is designed to help researchers unlock important insights on matters of importance to Australia and Australians.
BLADE is not a data set. It is a methodology for linking business datasets through a common identifier (the ABN). Integrating administrative data with directly collected survey data increases the capacity of the research community to undertake firm-level analysis and improves the evidence base for policy development and evaluation. 

What can BLADE do?

Through combining separate datasets, BLADE provides a holistic look at firms and industries. It is useful for analysing business performance and dynamics, business demography and characteristics.

This diagram demonstrates how BLADE can provide a holistic look at firms and industry. The circle going into the BLADE box shows firm related variables and key performance indicators that can be constructed using BLADE to answer questions on: 
<ul>
	<li>firm performance and dynamics</li>
	<li>business demography</li>
	<li>firm characteristics</li>
	<li>policy</li> 
	<li>programme impact evaluation</li>
	<li>tracking sectoral performance</li>
	<li>empirical research on theoretical issues</li>
These questions are illustrated as arrows moving outside the BLADE box.


BLADE can help:
  • Track the performance of actively trading businesses in Australia from 2000–01 onwards (including turnover, employment and labour productivity).
  • Explore business characteristics such as export status, foreign ownership status and innovation status as well as the size and industry distribution of programme participants.
  • Track trends in entrepreneurship (new business entries), business birth rates and survival rates over time.
  • Provide insight into the impact of the department’s programmes.

BLADE has been used for research and programme evaluation purposes. The Office of the Chief Economist has completed projects on:

  • A statistical overview of exporters and an empirical analysis of the performance of exporters relative to non-exporters (research paper 7/2016).
  • The dynamics of employment growth, which investigated the contribution of firms of different ages and sizes to aggregate employment growth (research paper 4/2015).
  • The impact of South Australian Structural Adjustment Fund Programmes, to determine the effectiveness of the interventions in supporting adjustment to regional structural adjustment pressures (research paper 1/2017).
  • The business dynamics of a Clean Energy policy (research paper 1/2016).

Data in BLADE

Data linked in BLADE comes from several sources. The diagram below illustrates how they interconnect.

This diagram shows how BLADE is an environment and illustrates how data linked in BLADE comes from several sources. It demonstrates how they can be interconnected through a common identifier (e.g the ABN). BLADE brings together Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data like BCS, EAS and R&D data. Plus government administration data from the Australian Taxation Office, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and IP Australia. When connected through a common identifier they form an integrating spine.
BLADE contains administrative data on more than two million actively trading Australian businesses. It includes Australian Taxation Office (ATO) data which is supplied by the ATO to the ABS under the Taxation Administration Act 1953, which requires that such data is only used for the purpose of administering the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Any limitations or weaknesses in the data are in the context of using the data for statistical purposes, and are not related to the ability of the data to support the ATO's core operational requirements. The BLADE can facilitate specific project analysis through the integration of additional data with ATO data.  For example IP Australia data and some Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) programme data has been integrated to explore program effectiveness.

Further information

For further information on BLADE, please contact the Australian Bureau of Statistics at BLADE@abs.gov.au

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