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An Enterprise Survey (ES) is a firm-level survey of a representative sample of an economy’s private sector. The surveys cover a broad range of business environment topics including access to finance, competition, corruption, crime, gender, infrastructure, and performance measures. The World Bank has collected this data from face-to-face interviews with top managers and business owners in over 130,000 companies in 135 economies. The data allow a unique gender perspective, as the website indicators can easily be disaggregated by whether the top manager of the business is male or female. Other gender data include the degree of female participation in firm ownership and the firm’s workforce composition by gender. More detailed information about the Enterprise Surveys can be found on the Methodology page
Access the Enterprise Surveys data:
The data are publicly available on the Enterprise Surveys website. Users can download the raw firm-level data (for free) along with the questionnaires and accompanying survey documentation. For many countries, longitudinal/panel data are available. In addition to the raw data (available in Stata format), the website presents summary indicators by survey topic. Users can view these indicators by economy and also by topic.
The website allows users to view the indicator data by firm subgroup categories such as (a) business sector, firm size, or sub-national location (sample design stratification variables) and (b) exporting status, gender of top manager, or domestic vs. foreign ownership (ex post groupings). For example, to view the business environment indicators for Mexico through a gender lens, choose “Gender of Top Manager” in the “View Data by Firm Subgroups” option for each topic sub-window on the Mexico page. The custom query feature allows users to download the standard error and number of observation statistics associated with these indicators.
Who is surveyed:
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. This corresponds to firms classified with ISIC codes 15-37, 45, 50-52, 55, 60-64, and 72 (ISIC Rev.3.1). 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. Firms with 100% government/state ownership are not eligible to participate in an ES. Occasionally, for a few surveyed countries, other sectors are included in the companies surveyed such as education or health-related businesses. In each country, businesses in the cities/regions of major economic activity are interviewed.
In some countries, other surveys, which depart from the usual ES methodology, are conducted. Examples include (a) Informal Surveys- surveys of informal (unregistered) enterprises, (b) Micro Surveys- surveys fielded to registered firms with less than five employees, and (c) Financial Crisis Assessment Surveys- short surveys administered by telephone to assess the effects of the global financial crisis of 2008-09.
ES data and indicators have been used for several analytical works on gender. The ES data are among the main primary data sources in the 2011 Report on “Strengthening Access to Finance for Women-Owned SMEs in Developing Countries”. The report, produced by the IFC on behalf of the G-20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) SME Finance Sub-Group, provides evidence on financial and non-financial barriers to women-owned businesses as well as on the contribution of women entrepreneurs in economic development. Research on gender differences in productivity based on ES data has been incorporated in the broader World Bank Group’s effort that led to the World Development Report (WDR) on Gender Equality and Development and the regional companion pieces to the WDR. In 2011, the Enterprise Analysis Unit produced the Enterprise Note on Gender and Informality in Latin America: Labor productivity, firm-size and gender: the case of informal firms in Argentina and Peru.
The Enterprise Surveys data can be used in conjunction with the Women Business and the Law data to analyze the relationship between the challenges that women’ entrepreneurs face in expanding their businesses and in creating jobs and the legal and regulatory environment in which they live and operate.