As part of its strategic goal of building a climate for investment, job creation, and sustainable growth, the World Bank has promoted improving the business environment as a key strategy for development, which has led to a systematic effort in collecting enterprise data across countries. The Enterprise Surveys (ES) are an ongoing World Bank project in collecting both objective data based on firms’ experiences and enterprises’ perception of the environment in which they operate.
An Enterprise Survey is a firm-level survey of a representative sample of an economy's private sector. Firm-level surveys have been conducted since 1998 by different units within the World Bank. Since 2005-2006, most data collection efforts have been centralized within the Enterprise Analysis Unit. The Enterprise Surveys are conducted across all geographic regions and cover small, medium, and large companies. The surveys are administered to a representative sample of firms in the non-agricultural formal private economy. Data are used to create indicators that benchmark the quality of the business and investment climate across countries.
The survey was conducted in Argentina from March 2017 to March 2018 as part of Enterprise Surveys project, an initiative of the World Bank. Data from 991 establishments was analyzed.
The objective of the Enterprise Survey is to gain an understanding of what firms experience in the private sector. Through interviews with firms in the manufacturing and services sectors, the survey assesses the constraints to private sector growth and creates statistically significant business environment indicators that are comparable across countries
The standard Enterprise Survey topics include firm characteristics, gender participation, access to finance, annual sales, costs of inputs and 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 percent 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.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
The primary sampling unit of the study is the establishment. An establishment is a physical location where business is carried out and where industrial operations take place or services are provided. A firm may be composed of one or more establishments. For example, a brewery may have several bottling plants and several establishments for distribution. For the purposes of this survey an establishment must make its own financial decisions and have its own financial statements separate from those of the firm. An establishment must also have its own management and control over its payroll.
v01, edited, anonymous dataset for public distribution
The scope of the study includes:
- Infrastructure and Services
- Sales and Supplies
- Management Practices
- Degree of Competition
- Land and Permits
- Business-Government Relations
- Business Environment
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 whole population, or universe of the study, is the non-agricultural economy. It comprises: all manufacturing sectors according to the group classification of ISIC Revision 3.1: (group D), construction sector (group F), services sector (groups G and H), and transport, storage, and communications sector (group I). Note that this definition excludes the following sectors: financial intermediation (group J), real estate and renting activities (group K, except sub-sector 72, IT, which was added to the population under study), and all public or utilities-sectors.
Producers and sponsors
Inter-American Development Bank
The sample for 2017 Argentina ES was selected using stratified random sampling.
Three levels of stratification were used in this country: industry, establishment size, and region.
Industry stratification was designed as follows: the universe was stratified into three manufacturing industries and two services industries- Food and Beverages (ISIC Rev. 3.1 code 15), Textiles and Garments (ISIC codes 17,18), Other Manufacturing (ISIC codes 16, 19-37), Retail (ISIC code 52) and Other Services (ISIC codes 45, 50, 51, 55, 60-64, and 72).
For the Argentina ES, size stratification was defined as follows: small (5 to 19 employees), medium (20 to 99 employees), and large (100 or more employees).
Regional stratification was done across five regions: Buenos Aires, Rosario, Mendoza, Cordoba, and Tucuman.
Given the stratified design, sample frames containing a complete and updated list of establishments as well as information on all stratification variables (number of employees, industry, and region) are required to draw the sample. Great efforts were made to obtain the best source for these listings.
The sample frame consisted of listings of firms from two sources: for panel firms the list of 982 firms from the Argentina 2010 ES was used, and for fresh firms (i.e., firms not covered in 2010) the list obtained from Dun & Bradstreet Argentina 2010 y 2016 was used.
Survey non-response must be differentiated from item non-response. The former refers to refusals to participate in the survey altogether whereas the latter refers to the refusals to answer some specific questions. Enterprise Surveys suffer from both problems and different strategies were used to address these issues. Item non-response was addressed by two strategies:
a- For sensitive questions that may generate negative reactions from the respondent, such as corruption or tax evasion, enumerators were instructed to collect the refusal to respond (-8) as a different option from don’t know (-9).
b- Establishments with incomplete information were re-contacted in order to complete this information, whenever necessary. However, there were clear cases of low response. The following graph shows non-response rates for the sales variable, d2, by sector. Please, note that for this specific question, refusals were not separately identified from “Don’t know” responses.
Survey non-response was addressed by maximizing efforts to contact establishments that were initially selected for interview. Attempts were made to contact the establishment for interview at different times/days of the week before a replacement establishment (with similar strata characteristics) was suggested for interview. Survey non-response did occur but substitutions were made in order to potentially achieve strata-specific goals; whenever this was done, strict rules were followed to ensure replacements were randomly selected within the same stratum. Further research is needed on survey non-response in the Enterprise Surveys regarding potential introduction of bias.
Since the sampling design was stratified and employed differential sampling, individual observations should be properly weighted when making inferences about the population. Under stratified random sampling, unweighted estimates are biased unless sample sizes are proportional to the size of each stratum. With stratification, the probability of selection of each unit is, in general, not the same. Consequently, individual observations must be weighted by the inverse of their probability of selection (probability weights or pw in Stata.)
Special care was given to the correct computation of the weights. It was imperative to accurately adjust the totals within each region/industry/size stratum to account for the presence of ineligible units (the firm discontinued businesses or was unattainable, education or government establishments, no reply after having called in different days of the week and in different business hours, no tone in the phone line, answering machine, fax line, wrong address or moved away and could not get the new references). The information required for the adjustment was collected in the first stage of the implementation: the screening process. Using this information, each stratum cell of the universe was scaled down by the observed proportion of ineligible units within the cell. Once an accurate estimate of the universe cell (projections) was available, weights were computed using the number of completed interviews.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
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 surveys are usually implemented following a two-stage procedure. In the first stage, a screener questionnaire is applied over the phone to determine eligibility and to make appointments; in the second stage, a face-to-face interview takes place with the Manager/Owner/Director of each establishment. Sometimes the survey respondent calls company accountants and human resource managers into the interview to answer questions in the sales and labor sections of the survey.
All Enterprise Surveys are conducted in the local languages.
The structure of the data base reflects the fact that 2 different versions of the survey instrument were used for all registered establishments. Questionnaires have common questions (core module) and respectfully additional manufacturing- and services-specific questions.
The eligible manufacturing industries have been surveyed using the Manufacturing questionnaire (includes the core module, plus manufacturing specific questions).
Retail firms have been interviewed using the Services questionnaire (includes the core module plus retail specific questions) and the residual eligible services have been covered using the Services questionnaire (includes the core module).
Each variation of the questionnaire is identified by the index variable, a0.
The end date of the last complete fiscal year is identified by variables a20y, a20m, and a20d, collecting information on respectively, year, month, and day. For questions pertaining to monetary amounts, the unit is the Argentina peso, ARS.
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.
Enterprise Analysis Unit
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.
The use of this dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the identification of the Primary Investigator (including country name)
- the full title of the survey and its acronym (when available), and the year(s) of implementation
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download (for datasets disseminated online).
The World Bank. Argentina- Enterprise Survey (ES) 2017, Ref. ARG_2017_ES_v01_M. Dataset downloaded from [URL] on [date].
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.
DDI Document ID
Development Economics Data Group
The World Bank
Documentation of the DDI
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 01 (November 2018)