Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management is partnering with Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. to develop research on the national economy and to create a national index to measure demand for and access to private capital by small and medium sized businesses.

The partnership is being led by Grazioadio’s Private Capital Markets Project.

The partnership plans to produce a national annual economic forecast, the continuation of work already begun by Dr. John K. Paglia, lead researcher for the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project and an associate professor of finance at the Graziadio School.

The second area of partnership between D&B and Pepperdine University — which has campuses in Encino and Westlake Village — centers on the development of a new, monthly Private Capital Access (PCA) Index. The index is designed to measure the demand for, activity, and health of the private capital markets, plus provide actionable data to small and medium-sized business owners not generally available in the past, the school said.

“We expect to give small and medium size business owners in every community in the country an opportunity to share their challenges and successes in finding capital from a variety of sources and then benefit from the aggregate data,” Paglia said in a statement.

“By partnering with Pepperdine University, we are proud to play a role facilitating the development of objective, ongoing research into the sentiment of America’s businesses who are seeking precisely the sort of actionable data that Pepperdine is known for providing to the world,” Jeff Stibel, chairman & CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. said in a statement.

Graziadio’s Private Capital Markets Project has a four-year history of surveying small- and medium-sized businesses to determine their cost of capital, their views on the national economy and their need for capital to expand their businesses. Similarly, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. maintains ongoing conversations with millions of small businesses across sectors and industries.

“As a result of its sizable presence with U.S. businesses, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. has a unique relationship, understanding and dialogue with businesses nationwide,” Linda A. Livingstone, dean of the Graziadio School, said in a statement. “Our multi-year partnership with them will allow for a detailed analysis and assessment on a wide range of important issues to the small business community including demand for financing needs, the level of accessibility of private capital, and the transparency and efficiency of private financing markets.”

The first Private Capital Index survey will be launched in January 2012 with Pepperdine and Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. reporting results in March 2012 and on a monthly basis thereafter.

The monthly PCA Index will also have a subsection reports section covering: the Small Business Capital Index (SBCI), and the Middle Markets Capital Index (MMCI). Each index will be further segmented into a current conditions and expectations indices yielding the Private Capital Conditions Index (PCCI), the Private Capital Expectations Index (PCEI), the Small Business Capital Conditions Index (SBCCI), the Small Business Capital Expectations Index (SBCEI), the Middle Markets Capital Conditions Index (MMCCI), and the Middle Markets Capital Expectations Index (MMCEI).