BEEPS is a firm-level survey of a representative sample of an economy’s private sector. It covers a broad range of business environment topics including access to finance, corruption, infrastructure, crime, competition, and performance measures.

Sector and size coverage

Since 2008, the survey universe consist of  the majority of manufacturing sectors (excluding extraction), retail and residual stratum that includes most services sectors (wholesale, hotels, restaurants, transport, storage, communications, IT) and construction. This corresponds to firms classified with ISIC Rev 3.1 codes 15-37, 45, 50-52, 55, 60-64, and 72. Only formal (registered) companies with 5 or more employees are eligible for interview; there are no restrictions on their age.  In some larger economies such as Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, the survey design allows stratification by some of the sectors with the largest contribution to employment and value added. Firms with 100% government/state ownership are no longer eligible to participate in BEEPS. Prior to 2008, the survey universe consisted of industry and most service sectors. This corresponded to firms classified with ISIC Rev 3.1 codes 10-14, 15-37, 45, 50-52, 55, 60-64, 70-74, 92.1-92.4 and 93. Firms that operated in sectors subject to government price regulations and prudential supervision, such as banking, electric power, rail transport, and water and waste water were excluded. Only formal (registered) companies with 2 or more employees and at least 3 years old were eligible for interview. There were no restrictions on ownership. The details for the first three rounds of BEEPS, if known, can be found in the Reports on sampling and implementation, available in the Data section.      

Who conducts the surveys and who is surveyed

Who conducts the surveys: Due to sensitive survey questions addressing business-government relations and bribery-related topics, private contractors, rather than any government agency or an organization/institution associated with government, are hired by the EBRD and the World Bank to collect the data. Confidentiality of the survey respondents and the sensitive information they provide is necessary to ensure the greatest degree of survey participation, integrity and confidence in the quality of the data. Surveys are usually carried out in cooperation with business organizations and government agencies promoting job creation and economic growth, but confidentiality is never compromised. Who is surveyed: BEEPS is answered in face-to-face interviews 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 labour 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 Sampling Note provides the rationale for these sample sizes.

Structure of the survey

Since 2008, BEEPS uses three instruments: the Manufacturing Questionnaire, Retail Questionnaire, and Core (residual sectors) Questionnaire. Although many questions overlap, some are only applicable to one type of business. For example, retail firms are not asked question about production and non-production workers. The standard BEEPS topics include firm characteristics, gender participation, access to finance, annual sales, costs of inputs/labor, workforce composition, bribery, licensing, infrastructure, trade, crime, competition, capacity utilization, land and permits, taxation, informality, business-government relations, innovation and technology, and performance measures. Over 90% of the questions objectively ascertain characteristics of a country’s business environment. The remaining questions assess the survey respondents’ opinions on what are the obstacles to firm growth and performance. The mode of data collection is face-to-face interviews.  

Sampling and weights

BEEPS has been conducted since 1999. The first round placed quotas on sector, size (number of employees) and location. In the second round (2002), ownership quotas (foreign and state owned) were added. Exporter quotas were added in the third round (2005). The details, if known, can be found in the Reports on sampling and implementation, available in the Data section. Since the fourth round in 2008, BEEPS follows the Enterprise Surveys Global Methodology and uses stratified random sampling. In a stratified random sample, all population units are grouped within homogeneous groups and simple random samples are selected within each group. This method allows computing estimates for each of the strata with a specified level of precision while population estimates can also be estimated by properly weighting individual observations. The sampling weights take care of the varying probabilities of selection across different strata. Under certain conditions, estimates' precision under stratified random sampling will be higher than under simple random sampling (lower standard errors may result from the estimation procedure). The strata for BEEPS are firm size, sector, and geographic region within a country. Firm size levels are 5-19 (small), 20-99 (medium), and 100+ employees (large-sized firms). In most economies, the majority of firms are small and medium-sized, hence BEEPS over-samples large firms since larger firms tend to be engines of job creation. Sector breakdown is usually manufacturing, retail, and other services. For larger economies, such as Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, specific manufacturing sub-sectors are selected as additional strata on the basis of employment, value-added, and total number of establishments figures. The sampling frame is ideally derived from the universe of eligible firms obtained from the country’s statistical office. Sometimes the master list of firms is obtained from other government agencies, such as tax or business licensing authorities. In some cases, the list of firms is obtained from business associations or marketing databases. In Albania, the sample frame is created via block enumeration, where the consultant “manually” constructs a list of eligible firms after 1) partitioning a country’s cities of major economic activity into clusters and blocks, 2) randomly selecting a subset of blocks which will then be enumerated. In surveys conducted since 2008, survey documentation contains the information on the source of the sampling frame and includes any special circumstances encountered during survey fieldwork. More details can be found in the Sampling Note. Obtaining panel data, i.e. interviews with the same firms across multiple years, is a priority in BEEPS. When conducting a new round of BEEPS, maximal effort is expended to re-interview as many firms (from the prior survey) as possible. For these panel firms, sampling weights can be adjusted to take into account the resulting altered probabilities of inclusion in the sample frame.