Response Burden in Official Business Surveys: Measurement and Reduction Practices of National Statistical Institutes

Abstract

Response burden in business surveys has long been a concern for National Statistical Institutes (NSIs) for three types of reasons: political reasons, because response burden is part of the total administrative burden governments impose on businesses; methodological reasons, because an excessive response burden may reduce data quality and increase data-collection costs; and strategic reasons, because it affects relations between the NSIs and the business community. This article investigates NSI practices concerning business response burden measurement and reduction actions based on a survey of 41 NSIs from 39 countries. Most NSIs monitor at least some burden aspects and have implemented some actions to reduce burden, but large differences exist between NSIs’ methodologies for burden measurement and actions taken to reduce burden. Future research should find ways to deal with methodological differences in burden conceptualization, operationalization, and measurement, and provide insights into the effectiveness and efficiency of burden-reduction actions.

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