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Le Inchieste Congiunturali dell'ISCO: aspetti metodologici; Chapter 1 of: Le inchieste dell'ISCO come strumento di analisi della congiuntura economica

Martelli, Bianca Maria (1998): Le Inchieste Congiunturali dell'ISCO: aspetti metodologici; Chapter 1 of: Le inchieste dell'ISCO come strumento di analisi della congiuntura economica. Published in: Rassegna di Lavori dell'ISCO , Vol. Anno 1, No. n.3, 1998 (1998): pp. 13-67.

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Abstract

The Business Tendency Surveys, performed by ISCO (Institute for Short-Term Economic Studies) for Italy, are part of the Joint Harmonised Business and Consumers Survey (BCS) program of the European Commission which cover manufacturing, construction, retail trade, service sectors and consumers. ISAE (formerly ISCO) is one of the three founder Institutes (with IFO in Germany and INSEE in France) of the project. BCS started to be conducted in manufacturing sector since early 60 th’s , progressively enlarging over the years the field of investigation to construction, consumers, investments, retail trade and services. Business Tendency Surveys aim to investigate the “confidence” of the economic operators by asking entrepreneurs and managers opinions on current trends and expectations for the near future, regarding both their own business and the general situation of the economy. Information collected is of a qualitative type, mainly with a three option ordinal scale. Only in some restricted cases, for variables that are not reported in conventional statistics, information collected is quantitative: percentages of capacity utilization or the number of months of production assured. Answers obtained from the survey are aggregated in the form of “balances” (differences between positive and negative answers). Balances are then used to build the confidence indicator as arithmetic mean of selected series, namely for manufacturing: order level, production expectation and stocks (with inverted sign). The time series of the manufacturing confidence indicator often represent a leading indicator of the industrial production and of the GDP. In this chapter, which is part of a more general (and unfortunately out of print) ISCO publication, the first synthetic but precise and organic discussion of all the surveys is presented. The history of the ISCO surveys is presented and all the aspects of carrying out a survey are described starting from universe to the frame list, the sampling design, the lay out of the questionnaire, the data collection technique, the data processing and weighting and the confidence indicators calculation.

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