Frequently Asked Questions
What versions of IO-Snap are available?
Available license types have been structured to best suit our customers’ needs. We offer three types of licenses, with terms and features as depicted in the table below.
We provide the Demo version so that students can have free and easy access for coursework, and so that those evaluating the software for potential purchase have ready access to a trial version. We encourage those interested in buying IO-Snap to download the demo for a thorough evaluation. This allows us to have a no-returns/no refunds policy.
Demo versions expire after three months. Expiration dates are displayed when the application is installed and launched. After expiration, the Demo will no longer operate, and newly downloaded Demo installations will not install successfully.
Licensed versions expire after a calendar year. During active license periods, all data and program updates are provided at no charge. A comparison of the available version options are shown in the table below.
I get a warning when I download IO-Snap, what does this mean?
Microsoft flags independently developed applications as suspicious if the developer has not been registered as an approved developer. This warning for the IO-Snap installer can be safely disregarded.
Some users also will see a warning when attempting to launch the installer. The warning indicates that the program installation has been halted for security reasons. To complete the installation, click on the link to more details in warning message box, and proceed by indicating that you wish to ignore the system warnings.
I've installed IO-Snap, but when I launch, the application tries to start but then stops with an error message something like "BEA Annual Input-Output...."
This problem normally only happens when a user tries to launch the wrong executable. The correct one is in the same IOSnap installation folder, but is called IOSNAP.exe. A still better way to launch is from the desktop icon or from the IO-Snap listing on the Start Menu.
What will happen when my current version expires?
After expiration, the Demo will no longer operate, and newly downloaded Demo files will not install successfully. Student and Full versions carry 1-year renewable license periods.
How do I update my software and data?
We are continually improving and updating IO-Snap, and want you to have the best possible experience with the software and the most current data available. When you launch IO-Snap, the application will check for available updates and give you the opportunity to download new versions, which will include all software and data updates.
What data come with the software application?
The data for the US and for all states and Washington, DC for the years 1998-2016 are included with IO-Snap. We update the data as it becomes available.
Why are the data limited to 1998 - 2016?
We use the Annual Input-Output Accounts data after redefinitions along with employment and gross domestic product data by state as the primary foundation for IO-Snap. Although data for years prior to 1998 that were originally collected and classified using SIC codes have recently been converted to NAICS, we chose to use only the Annual Input-Output Accounts data that were reported originally using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors. Further, we decided that the value of adding pre-1998 data did not justify the additional effort that would be required. The 2016 data are the most recent available for all national and state variables.
How often will data be updated?
We rely on the most recently published data and distribute new databases within about a month of the release of the final data needed to complete the database for a given year. You will note that some other vendors provide accounts for more recent years. However, those sources are rely very heavily on estimates using limited published data. For example, as of February of 2016, the 2015 state gross product data had been released, but a closer look would have revealed substantial missing data for most states. We could extrapolate or otherwise fill in the missing data, but we've also observed that the reported values in early releases often change — sometimes substantially — by the time the series are more fully populated. This suggests that building estimates around the early published data runs a substantial risk of fairly large margins of error. We prefer to wait until the data are more complete and stable. If you have a specific need for more recent accounts and are willing to accept these risks, contact us and we will construct a custom database for you.
Is there a more disaggregated version of the software available that is based on benchmark year data?
The full version has the same classification as the annual BEA input-output accounts. We plan to make available U.S. benchmark accounts with full detail in IO-Snap format before the end of 2019.
Can I use the software on more than one computer?
Check the table above for license details. Installations are limited in number, but moving from one computer to another is relatively straightforward. Under the Help menu item you will find a Deactivate option. This frees up an installation associated with your license. Be sure to keep track of your registration key!
Are the base tables before or after redefinitions?
We use the Make and Use tables after redefinitions. There is a very nice paper that we recommend, called "From Make-Use to Symmetric I-O Tables: An Assessment of Alternative Technology Assumptions."
Can I group states in my choice of geographical aggregation?
Absolutely. We provide some standard multi-state aggregation schemes (Census Bureau Regions and Divisions, Bureau of Economic Analysis Regions, etc.), but you have the option of combining any set of state into a single region. You can even construct multi-state regions from non-contiguous state if you can think of a justification for doing so, though we haven’t been able to come up with one.
Can I create models for sub-state regions?
National table regionalization is driven by regional personal income and value added data by industry. You can enter employment or income data for a sub-state region if you have them, or even if you simply want to make them up for a hypothetical region of some idealized type. Once you've entered the driver data, you can proceed to regionalization.
By June 2018, you also can special order IO-Snap data for custom regions, at a level of detail that aligns closely with the BEA benchmark IO accounts.
Can I generate tables and conduct analyses at more aggregated levels?
Yes, you can. However, aggregated national tables cannot be regionalized, and the aggregation process cannot be reversed.
Will more analytical features be added?
Yes, we will be adding more analytical features, and we will also have an option to "Export to IOW" that will open all of its advanced features to you! More on IOW soon!
Why don’t I see a Scrap commodity in the requirements tables?
BEA describes methods for dealing with Scrap in the generation of total requirements tables. We take care of these adjustments behind the scenes.
How does IO-Snap deal with missing data in BEA’s gross domestic product and employment series?
We do our best to impute data using national relationships. So, for example, if we have employment but no employment compensation for a given industry in a region, we would use the national employment / employment compensation ratio to estimate the missing value. This is sometimes referred to as the Kendrick-Jaycox method. More importantly, we mark all imputed data so that users have the option to apply their own imputation methods if and as preferred. We trust in the judgment and ability of our users, who oftentimes will have greater local or regional expertise to apply to the imputation process, and we support data editing to take advantage of that expertise.
How does IO-Snap compare with IMPLAN?
Great question! We don't see IO-Snap as competing directly with IMPLAN, which can be a terrific solution for a wide variety of analytical purposes. We've used it often ourselves and highly recommend it. The folks at IMPLAN go to great lengths to generate and provide highly detailed, disaggregated IO accounts for not only states, but also counties and even Zip codes, whereas we only provide state level summary data. And let's not forget that IMPLAN also has the ability to generate estimated interregional IO accounts.
IO-Snap will be a useful tool for those who wish to have data for one or more states at what BEA refers to as the Summary level of reporting. Many applications don't require highly disaggregated IO accounts, and the fact that we provide all data for all states over a series of years -- and in a friendly format -- facilitates interregional and inter-temporal comparisons. We also think there is a group of users who would prefer to effectively construct their own IO accounts. IO-Snap provides a good foundation for these analysts, with a high level of control over what goes into the process.
We also acknowledge that working at greater levels of sectoral and geographic detail comes at the cost of relying more heavily on data imputation. That is, each increase in levels of detail results in a higher proportion of missing data, and in some cases, also requires additional assumptions. This suggests that there exists a trade-off between, e.g., sectoral detail and accuracy. Given the need for a significant amount of imputation even at the Summary level, we have chosen to sacrifice some detail in exchange for greater parametric certainty (accuracy).
We also suspect that we put somewhat less effort into regionalizing final demand than does IMPLAN (though we don’t know all of the IMPLAN procedures). We make some basic assumptions, but leave any necessary refinement of regional final demand estimates to the user. Prior to generating direct requirements and multipliers, final demands, industry production functions and output distributions can be directly edited by the user.
IO-Snap will be useful for both professional application and in the classroom. We hope that the simple and intuitive IO-Snap interface will make input-output data and analysis more accessible to students.
So, the bottom line is that those who need high levels of detail and those who have become accustomed to IMPLAN's functionality will probably continue to find IMPLAN very well suited to their purposes. But we also think there is room for a product that fills a different set of needs, and IO-Snap is that product!
Does IO-Snap adjust for cross hauling?
The basis for IO-Snap regionalization is the supply-demand pooling method with an adjustment for cross-hauling as described by Randall Jackson in Regionalizing National Commodity-by-Industry Accounts. Economic Systems Research, 1998, Volume 10, Number 3, pages 223-238. We use a default estimate of cross hauling in IO-Snap and implement it as described in the Jackson article, and provide the opportunity for advanced users to override the default cross-hauling values.
Does IO-Snap support the conversion from purchaser to producer prices?
Yes! This step is often neglected by casual users, and can result in some substantial impacts estimate errors. You will note that the conversion option is only available in “commodity-driven” analyses, and this is because industry output is almost always composed of more than one commodity, so the adjustment needs to occur in commodity space, not industry space.
How are regional supply percentages handled in IO-Snap impacts assessments?
This is another important consideration that is often overlooked. In the impacts data entry dialog box is a check-box that, when selected, will modify the entered impacts amount to reflect the region’s industries’ abilities to satisfy their own demand. As an example, if a user is interested in the increase in output levels in a given industry or set of industries, then the check-box should be left unchecked. In contrast, if a user wants to evaluate the impact of a decline in consumer demand for the output of a given industry or set of industries, then checking the check-box will modify the demand-change estimate to reflect the fact that some of the new demand will be satisfied by industries in other regions.
© West Virginia University 2011