The Enterprise Surveys cover a broad range of business environment topics including access to finance, gender, corruption, infrastructure, innovation, competition, informality, and performance measures. Firm-level surveys have been conducted since 2002 by different units within the World Bank. Since 2005-06, most data collection efforts have been centralized within the Enterprise Analysis Unit. The individual country datasets, aggregated datasets (across countries and years), panel datasets, and all relevant survey documentation are available to those who register (registration is free).
The Enterprise Survey is answered by business owners and top managers. 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. Typically 1200-1800 interviews are conducted in larger economies, 360 interviews are conducted in medium-sized economies, and for smaller economies, 150 interviews take place.
The manufacturing and services sectors are the primary business sectors of interest. Formal (registered) companies with 5 or more employees are targeted for interview. Services firms include construction, retail, wholesale, hotels, restaurants, transport, storage, communications, and IT. For larger economies, specific manufacturing sub-sectors are selected as additional strata on the basis of employment, value-added, and total number of establishments figures. Firms with 100% government/state ownership are not eligible to participate in an Enterprise Survey.
In some countries, other surveys, which depart from the usual Enterprise Survey methodology, are conducted. Examples include 1) Informal Surveys- surveys of informal (unregistered) enterprises and 2) Micro Surveys- surveys fielded to registered firms with less than five employees.