The international business researcher in the United States faces considerable barriers to obtaining and understanding firm‐level data about foreign companies. Although the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of the Census, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other government agencies collect detailed data on foreign companies doing business in the U.S., most of these data are readily obtainable only as aggregate figures. The SEC alone releases company‐specific reports for public companies trading on U.S. stock exchanges. International bodies like the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations (UNCTC), the Organization for Economic Co‐operation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank follow the practice of individual governments in suppressing and protecting any firm‐level data, publishing only aggregate figures where those figures will not reveal the workings of individual firms. Therefore, most of the sources of data on the company level truly available to U.S. researchers are published by private information companies.
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