This is the first round of informal surveys conducted by the World Bank Enterprise Analysis Unit in six African countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivore, Madagascar, Mauritius), Afghanistan and Nepal.
Informal surveys target unregistered enterprises, which in these countries make up a significant part of the economy. The research evaluates how informal businesses function and assesses the difference between registered and unregistered establishments. The data could help implement changes in government - business relationships.
This research is a survey of unregistered businesses conducted in Afghanistan between October and December 2008 at the same time with Afghanistan 2008 Enterprise Survey. 419 informal businesses were interviewed.
The objective of World Bank firm-level surveys is to obtain feedback from enterprises in client countries on the state of the private sector, assess constraints to private sector growth and create statistically significant business environment indicators that are comparable across countries.
The same survey instrument was used for formal and informal establishments in Afghanistan.
The standard Enterprise Survey topics include firm characteristics, gender participation, access to finance, annual sales, costs of inputs/labor, workforce composition, bribery, licensing, infrastructure, trade, crime, competition, capacity utilization, land and permits, taxation, informality, business-government relations, innovation and technology, and performance measures. Over 90% of the questions objectively ascertain characteristics of a country’s business environment. The remaining questions assess the survey respondents’ opinions on what are the obstacles to firm growth and performance. The mode of data collection is face-to-face interviews.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
An unregistered establishment is the main focus of the research. An unregistered establishment is a business not registered with a central government body, such as Afghanistan Investment Support Agency, and/or any government ministry (the Department of Commerce, the Department of Economy, the Department of Education, etc.) Any business, registered only with a local municipality, a business association or a union, was also considered informal.
Regions covered are selected based on the number of establishments, contribution to employment, and value added. In most cases these regions are metropolitan areas and reflect the largest centers of economic activity in a country.
The manufacturing and services sectors are the primary business sectors of interest. Firms with 100% government/state ownership are not eligible to participate in an Enterprise Survey.
Producers and sponsors
The sample was split between five sectors. The World Bank advised on four sectors: manufacturing, retail, construction, and 'other services', comprising of hotels and restaurants; wholesalers; transport, storage and communications; IT services, and repair of motor vehicles. The local partner introduced an additional sector of "professional, scientific and technical," comprised of legal and accounting services, business and consulting services, architecture and engineering, advertising, research and media companies, private education institutes, and private health clinics.
Ten cities were covered for this survey, weighted according to the size and level of industrial activity.
To access informal companies, supervisors contacted local administrations, business associations, unions and non-profits to obtain lists of informal companies that fit the sample criteria. The lists were used to conduct informal interviews.
However, when this was impossible, the fieldwork team used the snowball sampling technique, i.e. after a successful interview with an informal business, an interviewer asked a respondent to direct the team towards other unregistered businesses that fit the sample criteria, in different locations across the city.
Deviations from the Sample Design
Given the small number of retailers registered centrally, combined with the unavailability of a comprehensive list of registered retailers, the decision was made to accept some retailers, which were only registered at the municipal level, as formal.
For some units it was impossible to determine eligibility because the contact was not successfully completed. Consequently, different assumptions as to their eligibility result in different universe cells' adjustments and in different sampling weights.
a- Strict assumption: eligible establishments are only those for which it was possible to directly determine eligibility.
b- Median assumption: eligible establishments are those for which it was possible to directly determine eligibility and those that rejected the screener questionnaire or an answering machine or fax was the only response. Median weights are used for computing indicators on the www.enterprisesurveys.org website.
c- Weak assumption: in addition to the establishments included in points a and b, all establishments for which it was not possible to finalize a contact are assumed eligible. This includes establishments with dead or out of service phone lines, establishments that never answered the phone, and establishments with incorrect addresses for which it was impossible to find a new address. Note that under the weak assumption only observed non-eligible units are excluded from universe projections.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
The fieldwork team had 24 members: 6 supervisors and 18 interviewers. The interviewers trained for the survey were generally college educated in Afghanistan or a neighboring country and/or had previous experience with conducting interviews in the country. Each interviewer had a set quota of businesses to interview. In order to achieve the quota, the interviewer was required to make the first contact with companies (except in a few cases when the supervisor did so), complete the screener document (in the case of formal companies), and conduct the interview.
Supervisors were more experienced interviewers, typically with a professional background, such as doctors or engineers. They coordinated their interviewer team, reviewed survey tools (questionnaires, cards, screeners, etc.), and evaluated each questionnaire to be sure it was complete and consistent. Supervisors also observed some interviews to ensure that the interviewers were asking questions in the right manner and were recording the answers correctly.
Data Collection Notes
Private contractors conduct the Enterprise Surveys on behalf of the World Bank. Due to sensitive survey questions addressing business-government relations and corruption-related topics, private contractors are preferred over any government agency or an organization/institution associated with government, and are hired by the World Bank to collect the data.
The survey was conducted in Dari and Pashto.
Security was a significant factor in carrying out fieldwork across Afghanistan, where political unrest and criminal activity present notable risks and obstacles to effective data collection. However, risks were minimized by:
1) Engaging local staff in each of the cities, where possible. With the exception of Bamyan (a relatively peaceful part of the country), interviewers operated in their hometowns;
2) Flying members of the fieldwork team for training in Kabul, rather than going by roads that are known to be partly controlled by insurgents and/or bandits. This was the case for supervisors and interviewers from Kandahar and Herat;
3) Providing sufficient authority to the interviewers, including a Noma Consulting photo ID card, a letter from the Department of Commerce and Industry, and a letter from the World Bank, to allay concerns and potential hostility from prospective interviewees.
A number of gifts were offered to respondents to encourage participation, including a simcard, and a leather-bound notebook and a pen. In addition, a small pamphlet in Dari, containing information from the 2005 Afghanistan Enterprise Survey, was distributed to help explain how the information derived from the survey was used.
Interviews lasted between one and two hours. In a small number of cases, the interview length exceeded two hours, but this was often due to numerous phone calls or interruptions.
The current survey instrument is available:
- Main questionnaire that combines Core, Manufacturing and Services modules.
Three versions of the questionnaire were generated in order to provide more tailored tools to the fieldwork team:
1) The Core questionnaire was used for the construction, other services, and professional, scientific and technical sectors;
2) The Manufacturing questionnaire was only used for manufacturers. It contained all the questions on the Core questionnaire, as well as some manufacturing specific questions;
3) The Services questionnaire was only used for retailers. It contained all the questions on the Core questionnaire, as well as some retailer specific questions.
The standard Enterprise Survey topics include firm characteristics, gender participation, access to finance, annual sales, costs of inputs/labor, workforce composition, bribery, licensing, infrastructure, trade, crime, security, competition, capacity utilization, land and permits, taxation, informality, business-government relations, innovation and technology, and performance measures. Over 90% of the questions objectively ascertain characteristics of a country’s business environment. The remaining questions assess the survey respondents’ opinions on what are the obstacles to firm growth and performance.
Data entry and quality controls are implemented by the contractor and data is delivered to the World Bank in batches (typically 10%, 50% and 100%). These data deliveries are checked for logical consistency, out of range values, skip patterns, and duplicate entries. Problems are flagged by the World Bank and corrected by the implementing contractor through data checks, callbacks, and revisiting establishments.
Confidentiality of the survey respondents and the sensitive information they provide is necessary to ensure the greatest degree of survey participation, integrity and confidence in the quality of the data. Surveys are usually carried out in cooperation with business organizations and government agencies promoting job creation and economic growth, but confidentiality is never compromised.
Aggregate indicators based on Enterprise Analysis Unit data are available to the public at https://www.enterprisesurveys.org
Firm-level data is also available to the public free-of-charge. In order to access the firm-level data, users must agree to abide by a strict confidentiality agreement available through Enterprise Analysis Unit website by clicking on "External users register here" at https://www.enterprisesurveys.org/Portal
Where necessary please site the source as "Enterprise Analysis Unit - World Bank Group https://www.enterprisesurveys.org"