The Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) was established by the World Bank to explore ways of improving the type and quality of household data collected by statistical offices in developing countries. The goal is to foster increased use of household data as a basis for policy decision-making.
The Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) was initiated in 1980 as a response to a perceived need for policy relevant data that would allow policy makers to move beyond simply measuring rates of unemployment, poverty and health care use, for example, to understanding the determinants of these observed social sector outcomes. The program is designed to assist policy makers in their efforts to identify how policies could be designed and improved to positively affect outcomes in health, education, economic activities, housing and utilities, etc.
The original objective for collecting a detailed household information in Albania was to provide the data to support the research program "Decentralizing Safety Nets: Community Choices and their Impact on Households." One of the main components of the research program was the evaluation of the distributional impact of the efforts of decentralizing the social assistance program, the Ndhime Ekonomica (NE), at the household level.
The data collected for the Employment and Welfare Survey include information on household composition, education, current and past employment, level of expenditure, health outcomes, and other important household characteristics such as assets and quality of housing. The data collected include all dimensions of household characteristics which makes it important in analyzing the original goals of the research project as well as to perform many other welfare and poverty studies.
The survey covered approximately 1,500 households in rural and urban areas, excluding Tirana. The data collection took place between August and November 1996.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
The electronic data files derived from the survey and prepared for analysis include 35 hierarchical data files. The names of the files follow the same pattern and structure as the questionnaire. Some of the files are organized at the household level, some of them at the individual level, and some of them at the food commodity level, depending on the type of information included in the file. Each file contains identification variables that allow for the merging and matching of the information to create new files that contain the variables needed for the analysis.
Each household can be uniquely identified using the household identification variable hhnum. Individual level files have an individual code in addition to the household code: pcode (individual id code). Other files of a different level of aggregation have additional identifiers. For example the food expenditure files have a unique code for each commodity that has been consumed by the household: fooditem (code of food).
The 1996 Albania Employment and Welfare Survey covered the following topics:
- Household roster
- Status of employment and other earning activities
- Information for those currently looking for work
- History of employment (include migrants)
- Training and public works
- Main job - current (working for a salary or commission for somebody else)
- Second job - current (working for a salary or commission for somebody else)
- Non-agricultural self employment (includes forestry)
- Business assets and durables for nonfarm enterprises
- Agricultural activity (including herding)
- Agricultural land
- Agricultural assets
- Agricultural livestock
- Remittances -- income received from absent members of the household or from any other person
- Remittances sent
- Social assistance/ insurance
- Benefits availability
- Real estate assets
- Household furniture and durable goods
- Food expenditure and consumption
- Non-food spending
National (except Tirana)
Producers and sponsors
Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
The data collected cover approximately 1,500 households in rural and urban areas, excluding Tirana. Tirana was not included because it had been the focus of another household survey in 1994. The sample was designed to maximize the inclusion of poor areas to increase the number of program participants.
The sample was drawn using a multi-stage stratified sampling procedure separately in the rural areas and in the urban areas.
Detailed description of the sampling procedure is available in "Basic Documentation, Albania: Employment and Welfare Survey", pp.2-7.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The data collection in the field was contracted by the MOLSP to a local consulting company. The contract was funded by the monitoring and evaluation funds for the Social Safety Project funded by the World Bank The main difficulties for the field work and implementation of the survey were caused by transportation problems, especially in rural areas. Although Albania is a fairly small country, road transportation is particularly difficult and several villages in rural areas are connected to the main road only by off road mountain passes and hiking trails.
The administration of the questionnaire took about one hour (60 minutes on average in rural areas and about 70 minutes in urban areas). The questionnaire was administered in one single visit, depending on the households ability to provide all the answers during that first visit. Because of the difficulty of transport in rural areas and the feasibility of conducting the whole interview in a single visit, the one visit strategy was the most efficient in Albania.
A total of five survey teams were used for the data collection. Each team consisted of a field supervisor, three interviewers and a driver. In total seven supervisors and 15 interviewers worked on the survey. Each interviewer completed on average a total of 100 questionnaires, ranging from a minimum of 40 to a maximum of 182 households. The quality of work provided by the interviewers was very high. Most of the interviewers had a college degree and most of them had been, or still were, school teachers.
Consulting company MOLSP
The household questionnaire design follows the general principle of a Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) survey.2 It includes variables necessary to describe and model several dimensions of the household in detail. The employment section contains information on current employment and a section on job history. The expenditure section contains detailed food and non-food expenditures that can be used to calculate levels of welfare. The sections on employment status and history, and social assistance contain specific details to respond to the needs of the original research purpose.
Detailed nutrition and anthropometric data were not collected. An agreement had been made with UNICEF that they would follow the same households and collect those data a few months after the initial survey. Unfortunately, the political situation prevented this from happening.
The data entry program was designed using IMPS, a data entry package developed by the US Census Bureau. The program was designed in such a way to follow the same layout as the questionnaire and included three types of data checks: a) range checks; b) intra-record checks to verify inconsistencies pertinent to a particular section of the questionnaire; and c) inter-record checks to determine inconsistencies between the different sections of the questionnaire.
The 58 data files that resulted from the key entry of data from the 50 communes and the 8 bashkies were re-grouped into 35 files organized according to the sections of the questionnaire.
LSMS Data Manager
The World Bank
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
- the title of the survey (including acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
Albania Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Albania Employment and Welfare Survey 1996. Ref. ALB_1996_EWS_v01_M. Dataset downloaded from [website/source] on [date].
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.