The datasets we’re looking at this week
Recessions and expansions, consumer finance, pro-government militias, pollination and atomic gardening.
Recessions and expansions. The United States has no official definition of a recession, but many observers turn to nongovernmental organizations National Bureau of Economic Researchwhose Business Cycle Dating Committee attempts to determine “the dates of the peaks and troughs that frame economic recessions and expansions”. The committee publish a table and data files listing these dates for dozens of cycles since the mid-1800s. But be prepared to wait: “Our determination of the date of the trough in April 2020 took place 15 months after this date, in July 2021. Previous determinations have taken between 4 and 21 months.” [h/t USAFacts]
Consumer finance. Every three years since 1983, the US Federal Reserve has conducted its Consumer Finance Survey, which asks a sample of families detailed questions about their income, savings, assets, pensions, loans, lines of credit, demographics, and more. “No other study for the country collects comparable information,” according to the Fed. The most recent edition surveyed 5,783 families between May 2019 and April 2020. Related: Moritz Kuhn et al. (data available here) merged the results of the modern survey with those of an earlier incarnation conducted from 1948 to 1977. As seen in: “The Wealth of Two Nations: The Racial Wealth Gap in the United States, 1860-2020(Ellora Derenoncourt et al.). [h/t Sharon Machlis]
Pro-government militias. Sabine Carey et al.it is Database of pro-government militias focuses on armed and organized groups that align themselves with a government but are not part of its official security forces. The last versionreleased earlier this year and available onlineprovides a wide range of structured information on 504 of these groups active between 1981 and 2014, including their purpose, members, targets, ties to government, material support, and more.
Pollinations. Nicholas Balfour et al.it is Pollinator Interactions Database “Documents UK Pollinator Plant Associations” bringing together records of “disparate publications currently scattered throughout the scientific literature” (and other sources) in a searchable custodian. Its over 100,000 entries document over 320,000 observed interactions between over 1,800 species of insects and over 1,200 species of plants, some published as early as 1895. [h/t Tyler Knight]
Atomic gardening. The Mutant Variety Database, jointly maintained by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, follows the metaphorical and literal fruits of atomic gardeninga decades-old practice also known as radiation breeding. The more than 3,400 database entries List the crop type, species, target traits, mutation breeding method, country, year of registration and more of each known variety. [h/t Lee Wilkins]
Suggestions for datasets? Critical? To rent out? Send your comments to [email protected] Looking for past datasets? This spreadsheet has them all. Visit data-is-plural.com to subscribe and browse previous editions.