I'm not sure there's much value in cleaning up the data in this way. The
"jobs created/saved" field was something that public interest groups asked
to be included in ARRA reporting requirements, presumably in part to
collect political ammunition to defend the program's effectiveness. But
this is not how economists measure the impact of fiscal stimulus.
If those responsible for reporting couldn't even manage to enter the data
in the right field, you can imagine how inconsistently they approached the
problem of estimating how many jobs a grant or contract saved/enabled. And
to be fair, it's an almost impossibly difficult question -- imagine trying
to estimate this at your own workplace around a single client or grant!
What's the counterfactual?
Even beyond that, nobody on a given project is going to be able to estimate
how many downstream jobs a project enabled through purchases of supplies
and services. This is why economists look at macro indicators like
unemployment claims instead of trying to suss out the Keynesian multiplier
for every expenditure.
Anyway! All of this is just to say that I wouldn't pay much attention to
the jobs fields in ARRA data. I don't think that reporting requirement
accomplished very much except to embarrass the Vice President on the Daily
On Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 8:15 AM, Anthea Watson Strong <