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Re-engineering the ISAE manufacturing survey

Malgarini, Marco and Margani, Patrizia and Martelli, Bianca Maria (2005): Re-engineering the ISAE manufacturing survey.


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The Joint harmonized Manufacturing survey for Italy, carried out by the Institute of Studies and Economic Analysis (ISAE, formerly ISCO), has a long history: it began on a quarterly basis in 1959, becoming monthly in 1962. The survey was then broadly modified in several occasions; in particular, in 1986 it was re-designed in order to provide data also at the regional level, adopting a new stratified random sample, the strata represented by the sector, region and size of the firm. In 1998, the sample was upgraded further, using an optimal allocation of the reporting units to the sample strata (Cochran, 1977). These changes satisfied the demand for more detailed and, at the same time, better harmonized data. However, at this stage, the processing of the results was still based on a very detailed industry grid based on the old NACE1970 classification, re-codified to obtain harmonized data for the Main Industrial Groups and total manufacturing. Size weights were used in the processing of the results, but there were still some differences in the elaboration of the data at the national and regional level, resulting in a not fully-fledged comparability between local and national data. For these reasons, in 2003 ISAE started a re-thinking of the manufacturing survey processing phase. The resulting re-engineering process recently implemented by ISAE is described in this paper. It has reached two main relevant goals: i. The underlying industrial structure for the aggregation of survey results is now based on the NACERev1.1 classification, at the 3-digit level, adapted to take into consideration the structure of Italian economy. ii. The weighting scheme is now based on a coherent system of size weights, based on a four-stage method in which, firstly, the balance Ba,j for question a, firm j, is aggregated in each strata, using the j-firm employees as weights; in the following stages, the result for each strata is progressively aggregated to calculate the Industry total, using value added weights, provided by an external source (i.e., the National Institute for Statistics, ISTAT). The main consequence is that now results at the regional and dimensional level are fully comparable to the ones for the entire industry. Historical data up to 1991 have been recalculated accordingly to the new aggregation scheme and are presented here as a conclusion of the paper.

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