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Business Failures by Industry in the United States, 1895 to 1940: A Statistical History (ICPSR 34016) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

Dun's Review began publishing monthly data on business failures by branch of business during the 1890s. At that time, a business failure was defined as a concern which was involved in a court proceeding or voluntary action which was likely to end in loss to creditors. Liabilities of failed businesses were defined "as all liabilities except long-term publicly-held obligations, chiefly bonds." Dun's published data on failures by branch of business from 1895 through 1935. This dataset reconstructs that series and links it to its successors. The successor series include data on business failures by division of industry, which Dun and Bradstreet's published from 1934 through 1940. This study includes six parts. Part One contains aggregate liabilities in dollars, broken down by branch, month, and year. Part Two contains aggregate numbers of business failures broken down by branch, month, and year. Part Three contains aggregate liability in dollars broken down by division, month, and year. Part Four contains aggregate numbers of business failures broken down by division, month, and year. Part Five contains aggregate liabilities broken down by sector, month, and year. Part Six contains aggregate numbers of business failures broken down by sector, month, and year. Part One and Part Two contain 36 variables and 562 cases. Part Three and Part Four contain 51 variables and 60 cases. Part Five and Part Six contain 6 variables and 562 cases.

Access Notes

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Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Business Failures -- Branches Numbers - Download All Files (3 MB)
DS2:  Business Failures -- Branches Liabilities - Download All Files (3.4 MB)
DS3:  Business Failures -- Divisions Numbers - Download All Files (2.8 MB)
DS4:  Business Failures -- Divisions Liabilities - Download All Files (2.9 MB)
DS5:  Business Failures -- Sector Numbers - Download All Files (2.8 MB)
DS6:  Business Failures -- Sector Liabilities - Download All Files (2.8 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Richardson, Gary, and Michael Gou. Business Failures by Industry in the United States, 1895 to 1940: A Statistical History. ICPSR34016-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2012-07-05. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34016.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   asset forfeiture, bankruptcy, businesses, corporations, economic indicators, economic sectors, economic trends, industry

Smallest Geographic Unit:   United States

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1895--1940

Date of Collection:  

  • 1895--1940

Unit of Observation:   branch of business, division of industry, sector

Universe:   Businesses that failed in the United States from 1895 through 1940.

Data Types:   aggregate data, event/transaction data, observational data

Data Collection Notes:

For additional information on these datasets please see the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Web site.

The dates in the Original P.I. Documentation for Business Failures by Industry in the United States range from 1895 to 1939, however, the data range from 1895 to 1940. The title for ICPSR 34016 has been changed to reflect the data.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   This study allows for economic analysis of business failures. It is intended to provide a resource on business failure and liabilites from 1895 to 1940.

Study Design:   Data originally collected from court filings at municipal, county, state, and United States district court houses throughout the United States from 1895 through 1940. Data published periodically by R. G. Dun and Company, Bradstreet's Company, and their successors through 1940. From their publications, the principal investigators collected, cleaned, compiled, and computerized the current data series.

Sample:  

The data consist of the aggregate number of corporations filing for bankruptcy in various industries each month in the United States and the total liabilities of those corporations. Please refer to the codebook for sampling information in the "Original P.I. Documentation" section. Additional information can be found by visiting the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Web site.

Description of Variables:   Variables include monthly, unadjusted, liabilities and monthly, unadjusted, number of failures for different branches, sectors, divisons.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Related Publications (see Notes)

Variables

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