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Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE)

Main content area
Publication Date: 
September 2017

The Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE) is a statistical resource that contains information on Australian businesses. It helps researchers unlock insights on business and industry dynamics.

BLADE is not a data set. It is a methodology for linking business datasets by using the Australia Business Number (ABN) as the identifier. Using integrated data, BLADE can deliver valuable insights on businesses (in comparison to using survey data or administrative datasets in isolation). This helps the research community undertake analysis and improve the evidence base for policy development and evaluation.

What can BLADE do?

Through combining separate datasets, BLADE is useful for analysing business performance and dynamics, business demography and characteristics.

BLADE can help:

  • track the performance of actively trading businesses in Australia from 2000–01 onwards, including turnover, employment and labour productivity
  • provide insights into the size and industry distribution of government program participants, and the impact that these programs have on businesses
  • track trends in business entry and exit rates, and survival rates over time
  • explore business characteristics such as:
    • export status
    • foreign ownership status
    • innovation status

Examples of research

BLADE has been used by us for research and program impact analysis.

Examples include these research papers:

Data sources

Data in BLADE comes from several sources that can be linked using the ABN.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey data

  • Business Characteristic Survey (BCS)
  • Economic Activity Survey (EAS)
  • Business Expenditure on Research Development (BERD)

Government administrative data

  • Australian Tax Office (ATO) Business Activity Statements (BAS)
  • ATO Business Income Tax (BIT) filings
  • ATO Pay as You Go (PAYG) summaries
  • other government program data

Conditions of use

BLADE can only be used for research purposes. The business data cannot be used for compliance or tax monitoring purposes as set out in the below legal information from the ABS.

ABS legal information

The statistics produced from BLADE are based in part on Australian Business Register (ABR) data supplied by the Registrar to the ABS under A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 and tax data supplied by the ATO to the ABS under the Taxation Administration Act 1953. These require that such data is only used for the purpose of carrying out functions of the ABS. No individual information collected under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 is provided back to the Registrar or the ATO for administrative or regulatory purposes. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the data for statistical purposes, and is not related to the ability of the data to support the ABR’s core operational requirements.

Legislative requirements to ensure privacy and secrecy of this data have been followed. Only people authorised under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act 1975 have been allowed to view data about any particular firm in conducting these analyses. In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, results have been confidentialised to ensure that they are not likely to enable identification of a particular person or organisation.

Read more

Read about the linking methodology and access arrangements in this firm-level analysis using BLADE in the Wiley Online Library.

Contact

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

See also

We used BLADE in our analysis of high-growth firms in the Australian Innovation System Report 2017.