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 2005-06, 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. Data are used to create indicators that benchmark the quality of the business and investment climate across countries.
The Enterprise Survey database is intended to be useful for both policymakers and researchers. The surveys are to be repeated over time to track changes and benchmark the effects of reforms on firm performance.
The survey was conducted in Namibia in June 2006. Data from 329 establishments were analyzed.
The Enterprise Surveys are applied to a representative sample of firms in the non-agricultural economy. The sample is consistently defined in all countries and includes the entire manufacturing sector, the services sector, and the transportation and construction sectors. Public utilities, government services, health care, and financial services sectors are not included in the sample. Enterprise Surveys collect a wide array of qualitative and quantitative information through face-to-face interviews with firm managers and owners regarding the business environment in their countries and the productivity of their firms. The topics covered in Enterprise Surveys include the obstacles to doing business, infrastructure, finance, labor, corruption and regulation, law and order, innovation and technology, trade, and firm productivity.
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.
The whole population, or the universe, covered in the Enterprise Surveys is the non-agricultural economy. It comprises: all manufacturing sectors according to the ISIC Revision 3.1 group classification (group D), construction sector (group F), services sector (groups G and H), and transport, storage, and communications sector (group I). Note that this population 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
The sample for countries participating in the Enterprise Surveys is stratified by industry, firm size, and geographic region.
For stratification by industry, the main manufacturing sectors in each country in terms of value added, number of firms, and contribution to employment are selected. The retail trade sector is also included in all countries as a representative of the services sector, and depending on the size of the economy, the information technology (IT) sector is included. The rest of the universe is included in a residual stratum. In Namibia, Manufacturing sector included 106 firms, Retail sector - 110 companies and Other sectors (Residual) - 113 businesses.
Size stratification is defined the following way: small establishments (5 to 19 employees), medium establishments (20 to 99 employees), and large establishments (more than 99 employees).
Regional stratification includes the main economic regions in each country. In Namibia, Walvis Bay and Windhoek were surveyed.
Through this methodology, estimates for the different stratification levels can be calculated on a separate basis while at the same time inferences can be made for the economy as a whole, weighting individual observations by corresponding sample weights. Sample sizes for each stratification level are defined ensuring a minimum precision level of 7.5% with 95% confidence intervals for estimates with population proportions.
For more technical details on the sampling strategy, please review "Sampling Methodology" in "Technical Documents" folder.
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 Enterprise 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 current survey instruments are available:
- Core Questionnaire + Manufacturing Module;
- Core Questionnaire + Retail Module;
- Core Questionnaire.
Most of the questions in all three questionnaires are the same.
The "Core Questionnaire" is the heart of the Enterprise Survey and contains the survey questions asked of all firms across the world. There are also two other survey instruments - the "Core Questionnaire + Manufacturing Module" and the "Core Questionnaire + Retail Module." The survey is fielded via three instruments in order to not ask questions that are irrelevant to specific types of firms, e.g. a question that relates to production and nonproduction workers should not be asked of a retail firm. In addition to questions that are asked across countries, all surveys are customized and contain country-specific questions. An example of customization would be including tourism-related questions that are asked in certain countries when tourism is an existing or potential sector of economic growth.
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, informality, business-government relations, conflict resolution and legal environment,
innovation and technology, and performance measures. The questionnaires also assess 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 Survey 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"
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.