Advertisement

South Africa: The BER’S Business Tendency Surveys

  • George KershoffEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Societies and Political Orders in Transition book series (SOCPOT)

Abstract

The Bureau for Economic Research (BER) at Stellenbosch University has built up a reputation and valuable experience in conducting business tendency surveys in South Africa over the past six decades. An international benchmark started taking shape when the European Commission (EC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) broadened their business tendency survey (BTS) and consumer opinion survey (COS) harmonisation initiative to non-member countries and the OECD published a Handbook of Business Tendency Surveys in 2003. The BER’s survey method agrees with most of the recommended guidelines, but deviates in a few cases. For instance, the BER does not use completely random sampling to put together the panel of participants, sample weights, a two-step weighting procedure, post-stratification and imputation. Furthermore, the frequency of the BER’s surveys is quarterly; the BER instructs respondents to compare the current situation with that of a year ago, includes a specific question to measure business confidence, does not weight the building results, uses logarithmic transformed firm size weights and does not publish the other services sector survey results. The non-response rate is high in South Africa even though the BER follows all recommendations to increase the response rate. The BER’s survey results are quite volatile, also compared to those of the other BRICS countries. The preliminary findings of a sensitivity analysis show that a reduction in the number of firm size categories and the range of firm size weights, the introduction of a two-step weighting procedure and a move to a higher level of subsector aggregation in the manufacturing and building sector, will reduce the volatility of the BER’s survey results. The BER will consider this and other minor changes to the survey method in the future.

Keywords

Business tendency survey (BTS) method BER South Africa Sampling Panel Firm size weighting Sector size weighting Non-sampling errors 

References

  1. Bouwer B (1967) ‘n Statistiese Ontleding en Waardering van die Opinie-Opname-Metode soos toegepas deur die Buro vir Ekonomiese Ondersoek van die Universiteit van Stellenbosch. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Stellenbosch, StellenboschGoogle Scholar
  2. Campello A (2013) BRICS correlation matrices. Unpublished presentation delivered at the 2nd BRICS Working Group Meeting, October, ZurichGoogle Scholar
  3. De Munnik D (2010) Statistical confidence intervals for the bank of Canada’s business outlook survey. Bank of Canada. Discussion Paper 2010–7Google Scholar
  4. EC (European Commission) (2006) Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs. European Economy. The Joint Harmonised EU Programme of Business and Consumer Surveys. Special Report No. 5Google Scholar
  5. Kershoff GJ (2008) Conducting financial sector surveys in South Africa. Unpublished paper delivered at the 29th CIRET conference, 8–11 Oct 2018, Santiago, ChileGoogle Scholar
  6. Kershoff GJ (2010) The impact of weight adjustment on the accuracy of business tendency surveys. An assessment of the manufacturing survey of South Africa. Unpublished paper delivered at the 30th CIRET conference, 13–16 Oct 2010, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Kershoff GJ (2014a) The BER’s building survey. An analysis of the impact of the response pattern and weighting on the survey results. Unpublished report, January, StellenboschGoogle Scholar
  8. Kershoff GJ (2014b) The BER’s manufacturing survey. An analysis of the impact of the response pattern and weighting on the survey results. Unpublished report, March, StellenboschGoogle Scholar
  9. Kowalczyk B, Tomczyk E (2010) Non-response and weighting systems in business tendency surveys: are expectations influenced? Unpublished paper delivered at the 30th CIRET conference, 13–16 Oct 2010, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Laubscher PL (2005) Business surveys in South Africa: testing the ground for internet-based surveys keeping the impact on response rates in mind. Unpublished paper delivered at a joint EC-OECD workshop, 14–15 Nov 2005, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  11. OECD (2003) Business tendency surveys. A handbook. OECD, ParisGoogle Scholar
  12. Pellissier GM, Smit EVDM (1988) Ontleding van die mate van verteenwoordiging van die BEO se opinie-opname steekproewe. Unpublished report, June, StellenboschGoogle Scholar
  13. Ruppert R (2007) Business survey in manufacturing. In: Goldrian G (ed) Handbook of survey-based business cycle analysis. Edward Elgar, CheltenhamGoogle Scholar
  14. SARB (South African Reserve Bank) (2007) Quarterly bulletin. June, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  15. SARB (South African Reserve Bank) (2015) Quarterly bulletin. March, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  16. Stuart ODJ (1978) On the measurement of South African consumer sentiment. J Stud Econ Econometrics 2:82–94Google Scholar
  17. Tosetto E, Gyomai G (2009) Current status of business tendency survey and consumer survey harmonisation in non-EU OECD countries, OECD enhanced engagement economies and OECD accession countries. Unpublished paper delivered at an EU-OECD workshop on Business and Consumer Surveys, November, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  18. UNSD (2014) Handbook. Economic tendency surveys. Draft. United Nations Statistics Division, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Van der Walt BE, Pretorius WS (1994) Notes on the revision of the composite business cycle indicators. South African Reserve Bank Quarterly Bulletin, September, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  20. Wikipedia (2015) [Online]. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRICS. Accessed 20 May 2015

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bureau for Economic Research (BER)Stellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations