This website’s aim is to inform economic researchers and policy makers about new and innovative data sources and analytic tools that have the potential to improve understanding of the dynamics of U.S. economy, specifically as it relates to innovation and entrepreneurship.

A plethora of innovative data sources and tools are emerging from a variety of sources, spanning federal statistical and mission agencies, commercial firms, universities, and nonprofit research organizations. These data sources have the potential to transform our understanding of the phenomena that provide the basis for economic well-being. Improved understanding should lead to better designed, more effective policies and programs for stimulating economic growth.

Our specific interest is in regions as an important venue for analyzing human activity. Recognized around the world as providing the foundation for economic growth, regions are organically organized, relationship-laden geographies tied by common economic interests and infrastructures that allow the pursuit of innovation and economic growth. Understanding how regional economies work and how they could work better will boost the likelihood of a bright economic future for the nation and its residents.

A regional economy is the sum of transactions among firms and people, transactions that do not pay much attention to political or Census boundaries. In this time of economic volatility and vulnerability to global competition, static tabular data products that aggregate the number of businesses, jobs, and workers by jurisdiction at a moment sometime in the past are not sufficient for generating the understanding that leads to intelligent public and private economic investments.

Innovative sources of economic data, however, offer analysts new ways of seeing—the actions of individual institutions, entrepreneurs, investors, and workers over time and actual space, the relationships among these actors, and the outcomes of these relationships. Consequently, these data sources have far greater capacity to describe how regional economies work than do more traditional products. In doing so, they enable analyses that strive to explain how economies work, which in turn facilitate better informed private and public actions to create jobs, income, and profits.

A number of these data sources and tools were examined at a conference held on May 7-8, 2012 at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

The event was organized as a “data fair,” with simultaneous presentations from over 50 federal, commercial, and university data providers at the George Washington University Marvin Center Grand Ballroom.

This website continues to be a work in progress and will be updated regularly. Suggestions for additions and adjustments are welcome and appreciated.

Our e-book Innovative Data Sources for Regional Economic Analysis can be found here.

The Data Sources Table contains a review of the data sources featured below (PDF)

Innovative Data Sources, by Category:

As part of an Economic Development Administration-funded project titled EDA in the 21st Century: New Performance and Impact Metrics, the Carolina Institute for Public Policy developed the following report: “Stage IV: The 21st Century Economic Development Evaluation System Draft Report”. This report explores new performance metrics and assessment methods that can enhance the ability of economic development practitioners and policymakers to design, implement and evaluate programs in effective and rigorous ways.
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