Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Corporate profit context data

It was a struggle, but I had success finding stats on corporate tax deductions to use as an estimate of corporate costs.

A big chunk of it comes from They offer "SOI", Statistics on Income. The SOI Tax Stats - Integrated Business Data page provides Table 1: Selected financial data on businesses, which includes numbers on

  • Number of businesses
  • Total receipts
  • Business receipts
  • Net income (less deficit)
  • Net income
  • and Deficit

for the tax years 1980-2007. A pretty good chunk of data. (This file seems to be the only multiple-year information summary at the whole site.)

Another chunk comes from the Historical Statistics (Bicentennial Edition). It gives me the number of corporations, along with Receipts and Profit, from 1939 to 1970.

I filled in between 1970 and 1980 with info from issues of the Statistical Abstract.

Using all these different sources, I was worried about data mismatches. Turned out not to be a problem.

I was also concerned about picking the right columns of data. Should I use "total receipts", or "business receipts"? "Net income" or "Net income (less deficit)"?

Turned out, all the sources listed "Total receipts", and the numbers for overlapping years matched up, so I went with that. And the older sources (including the Statistical Abstract for 1976) listed "Net profit(less loss)" which matched up with "Net income (less deficit)" from the newer sources. So where I had to choose, I went with those, rather than plain net income. But the older sources give me confidence to refer to what I'm doing here as a study of "profit".

The numbers I gathered are in this Google Docs spreadsheet.

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