The demand for reliable business statistics at disaggregated levels, such as industry classes, increased considerably in recent years. Owing to small sample sizes for some of the domains, design-based methods may not provide estimates with adequate precision. Hence, modelbased small area estimation techniques that increase the effective sample size by borrowing strength are needed. Business data are frequently characterised by skewed distributions, with a few large enterprises that account for the majority of the total for the variable of interest, for example turnover. Moreover, the relationship between the variable of interest and the auxiliary variables is often non-linear on the original scale. In many cases, a lognormal mixed model provides a reasonable approximation of this relationship. In this article, we extend the empirical best prediction (EBP) approach to compensate for informative sampling, by incorporating design information among the covariates via an augmented modelling approach. This gives rise to the EBP under the augmented model. We propose to select the augmenting variable based on a joint assessment of a measure of predictive accuracy and a check of the normality assumptions. Finally, we compare our approach with alternatives in a model-based simulation study under different informative sampling mechanisms.
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