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The Bank of Italy’s experience with microdata dissemination of households and business surveys Ivan Faiella. FIRST EUROPEAN DATA ACCESS FORUM , 27-28th March 2012. Bank of Italy’s Surveys.

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slide1

The Bank of Italy’s experience with microdata dissemination of

households and business surveys

Ivan Faiella

FIRST EUROPEAN DATA ACCESS FORUM, 27-28th March 2012

slide2

Bank of Italy’s Surveys

  • To serve economic analysis, the Bank of Italy conducts periodical sample surveys on households, businesses and selected intermediaries. The main features and results are set out in specific issues of the Supplements or other periodical publications. Sample surveys microdata, and the documentation for their use, can be accessed free of charge.
  • A key feature is the synergy between data users (economists) and data producers (survey statisticians):
  • Questionnaire design;
  • Quality control 1: continuous interaction between economists and survey statisticians (i.e. hot topics);
  • Quality control 2: researchers working at the local branches are also serving as interviewers for some business surveys (trusts, outlier detection and callbacks);
  • Quality control 3: data users are randomly assigned in the households sample.
slide3

Bank of Italy’s Surveys

  • Survey on Household Income and Wealth. This biennial survey gathers information on the income, savings, wealth and other socio-economic indicators of Italian families.
  • Survey of Industrial and Service Firms. This annual survey, carried out in the first half of the year, gathers information on the current and expected activity of Italian industrial and service firms with 20 or more employees, focusing on variables related to employment, investment and sales.
  • Business Outlook Survey of Industrial and Service Firms. This annual survey, carried out in the second half of the year, gathers qualitative information on the short-term outlook of Italian industrial and service firms with 20 or more employees.
  • Survey on inflation and growth expectations. This quarterly survey gathers information related to the expectations held by industrial and service firms with at least 50 employees on inflation rates, economic growth, and own prices and performance.
  • Italian housing market survey. The survey, conducted quarterly, covers a sample of real-estate agents and concerns recent developments in the housing market and the short-term outlook.
  • Bank Lending Survey (BLS). Results for Italy of the bank lending survey conducted in the Euro area by the Eurosystem.
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Sponsor

The Bank of Italy

Survey on Household Income and Wealth

(SHIW)

Collector

A private research company

Year started

1966 (microdata available from 1977)

Target population

Noninstitutionalized households

Sampling Frame

Municipal registers

Sample design

2 stage stratified “split panel” sample

Sample size

8k households (about 20k individuals)

Mode of administration

Face to face (CAPI for 75% of the sample)

Reporting unit

Head of household, individuals

Level of observation

Households, individuals

Target variables

Income, Wealth and other socio-economic indicators

Time dimension

End of survey year

Frequency

Every two years

Data distribution

Microdata, documentation and main results accessible free of charge (web site)

slide5

Survey on Household Income and Wealth

SHIW data are used …

toappraise the financial behaviour of households and their attitudes towards payment instruments

to support fiscal policy and evaluate income and wealth distribution (microsimulation)

to explore the relations among socio-economic features of households and their economic preferences

for research purposes, inside and outside the Bank of Italy (Italian an foreign universities, private and public research institutes, think-tanks,…): 800 entries in the survey bibliography

SHIW is part of LIS an EA ECB-coordinated survey

slide6

Sponsor

The Bank of Italy

Survey of Industrial and Service Firms

(Invind)

Business Outlook Survey of Industrial and Service Firms

(Sondtel)

Collector

BI local branches

Year started

1970’s (microdata from 1984) 1993 (Sondtel)

Target population

Firms with 20+ empl.

Sampling Frame

ASIA (Istat)

Sample design

1 stage stratified panel sample

Sample size

4k firms (about 1k services)

Mode of administration

Web + CATI (some PAPI)

Reporting unit

Firms

Level of observation

Firms and Groups

Target variables

Employees, Turnover, Investments, expectations, credit availability

short-term trends of exports, investments, prices, turnover, demand, profits, employment (Sondtel)

Time dimension

survey year

Frequency

Every year

Data distribution

Documentation and main results accessible free of charge (web site)

Anonymized “scrambled” microdata remotely accessible (BIRD)

slide7

Survey on Household Income and Wealth

Invind and Sondtel data are used to study …

the financial structure of the borrowing of the firms;

Credit rationing, trade credits;

Investments and demand uncertainty;

Time, labour and wage flexibility in the Italian industrial sector

slide8

Microdata dissemination

  • Survey on Household Income and Wealth.
  • ANONYMISED MICRODATA DOWNLOADABLE FROM THE WEBSITE
  • Survey of Industrial and Service Firms.
  • Business Outlook Survey of Industrial and Service Firms.
  • DATA ACCESSIBLE THROUGHT A REMOTE PROCESSING SYSTEM (BIRD)
slide9

Households microdata

SHIW data distribution (BI website)…

Two versions: historical and annual archives

Extensive documentation

Complete questionnaire

Data anonymised: all information collected is released with very few exceptions (nut1+ codes, health status, name of financial institutions used by HHs)

JRR weights provided to have a correct estimate of design variance without providing geog. details (Faiella, 2008)

slide10

Firms microdata

Invind and Sondtel data distribution …

In 1974 the interviews for a survey of manufacturing firms were conducted for the first time by the Bank’s branches. Since then, survey microdata have been used by economists at the Research Department for policy use as well as for economic research and the target population of the business surveys has been extended over the years.

Business survey data had never been made available outside the Bank until 2008…because

Anonymisation can be unsafe if there are many outliers in the dataset. This tends to happen with business surveys that collect data on firms with very differing sizes.

Firms are confident that data are collected for the purpose of economic analysis only and that confidentiality is guaranteed. A mutual climate of trust has been built over the years.

slide11

Firms microdata

trade-off between security and accessibility…

Find a balance between the confidentiality commitment towards the sample firms and the commitment to transparency and accountability in the domain of applied economic research.

Protecting confidentiality in microdata collected in surveys has two motivations: it is both required and sanctioned by the law and is expected by survey participants….

…. But access to microdata is increasingly asked for research purposes by the scholars’ community.

Possible solutions:

data lab, where the researcher has to show up in person at the place where data are stored: here she can login to the desired dataset while her processing is carefully scrutinised;

Remote Access Data Lab (Trewin, 2003): let researchers access the lab remotely via some secure device (“Remote Execution” in EDAF terminology).

slide12

Bank of Italy’s Remote access to micro Data

BIRD: the Bank of Italy Remote Access Data Lab …

With BIRD (Bank of Italy’s Remote access to micro Data) users carry out their statistical and econometric analyses without having direct access to the micro data; they send an e-mail containing a program written in one of the prescribed languages and the system sends back an e-mail with the results of the calculations.

slide13

Bank of Italy’s Remote access to micro Data

BIRD: additional safeguards …

The measures taken to safeguard data confidentiality of the remotely available datasets are first of all the usual anonymisation measures adopted in the Public Use Files (as in the SHIW).

Preventive treatment of all the quantitative variables: a cut-off upper value is defined and, for top 5 big companies (99.5th percentile), the corresponding values are set equal to it, plus a disturbance term preserving data variability.

Besides that, the Bank of Italy follows four principles to let external users access its business survey data:

the researcher’s eligibility is checked (2-3 working days);

automatic legitimacy checks are performed on the commands used to access data;

automatic and manual checks are performed on the log, the output and the logic of submissions;

checks increase as long as disclosure risk increases (e.g. if the researcher needs to use the database with the original - non-perturbated - values)

slide14

Bank of Italy’s Remote access to micro Data

BIRD documentation (BI website)…

Extensive documentation

Complete methodology

Description of the archives

Program “samples”

Original questionnaires

slide15

Bank of Italy’s Remote access to micro Data

BIRD usage (March 2011)

Bruno, D’Aurizio and Tartaglia (2011)

slide16

Bank of Italy’s Remote access to micro Data

BIRD usage (March 2011)

Bruno, D’Aurizio and Tartaglia (2011)

slide17

What next?

BIRD “evolution”

NOW

Providing customised datasets to the users (available now)

NEAR FUTURE

Use the platform to access other BI survey data

NEXT FUTURE

Common platform (“Data archive”) among BI, Istat, Bruno Kessler foundation and MIUR. The project aims to create a single access that allows:

flexible queries of microdata (research topics, keywords or variables, data wikies);

overview of the data available and how they can be accessed;

harmonized documentation.

slide18

The Bank of Italy’s experience with microdata dissemination of

households and business surveys

Ivan Faiella

Thanks!