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4.3.3 Household surveys (World Bank)
International Household Survey Network (IHSN)

The World Bank participates in the governing body of the International Household Survey Network (IHSN), established in September 2004 (with various UN agencies, regional development banks, PARIS21, and other bilateral and multilateral partners), and coordinates the IHSN secretariat. (http://www.surveynetwork.org/) IHSN advocates better survey planning, promotes harmonization and development of data collection instruments, provides survey data dissemination tools and guidelines, and maintains a central survey and census catalogue. World Bank has developed a Survey Data Dissemination Toolkit, in cooperation with IHSN, aiming to provide developing countries with software and guidelines for proper preservation, documentation and dissemination of survey micro data. The Toolkit is based on the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) standard. The Toolkit is used as a standard tool for the 2010 round of UNICEF-MICS surveys.

The World Bank and IHSN have initiated the development of microdata anonymization tools and dissemination guidelines, building on the work by the UN-ECE Task Force on Confidentiality and Microdata.

Living Standards Measurement Survey

Living Standards Measurement Survey Database contains all information on LSMS surveys that have been carried out. Documentation, questionnaires, manuals and other basic information can be downloaded from the site. The actual data can either be downloaded directly from the site (where countries have given permission) or may be requested from the data base manager. Each survey data set contains constructed welfare measures that can be used for poverty analysis. To increase the ease of use and accessibility of the LSMS data sets two new tools are being constructed. The first is a searchable meta data file that allows researchers and analysts to identify those surveys that meet their research needs. A further effort to expand the use of the LSMS data sets is an interactive multi-survey data base that allows for on-the-fly tables and other analyses of the data for those who do not have the skills or time to analyze full household surveys. A test version of this tool has been finalized.

• The World Bank continues to provide assistance in planning, designing, implementing and analyzing the Living Standard Measurement Study (LSMS) surveys. The LSMS surveys represent one piece of larger, integrated efforts to improve the overall statistical system of each country by providing quality household level data.

• The WB ISTAT and the PRSP unit have supported efforts to determine the feasibility of using the HBS to measure welfare in future years.

• Regional work is being carried out in analyzing welfare data and how LSMS and HBS surveys are similar and dissimilar and the implications this has for welfare analysis over time.

• The LSMS group has developed a program of research investigating methodological issues related to the measurement of key concepts, how to improve data quality and ways in which LSMS survey data can be linked to other data bases. In the region, steps have been taken in designing experiments on the measurement of consumption.

• Assistance in planning, designing, implementing and analyzing LSMS surveys is provided by staff in DECRG-Poverty Group. Assistance includes technical advice on all stages of survey work, from deciding on the need for an LSMS survey, how best to design and implement such a survey, to how the resulting data can be analyzed. A variety of printed and electronic materials are also available to survey planners and analysts. Several of these are:
i) the recent book on Designing Household Survey Questionnaires for Developing Countries: Lessons from Fifteen years of the LSMS Surveys, that link the policy questions to be answered to the actual data that must be collected. Additional chapters are being added as the new topics become more and more important: draft chapters on energy and transportation have been written;
ii) a Manual for Planning and Implementing LSMS Surveys, that covers all phases of an LSMS survey, from budgeting, to sampling, field work and data management and analysis;
iii) examples of questionnaires, manuals and other field work material from all countries where LSMS surveys have been done;
iv) case studies on how to increase the analytic capacity in country;
v) databases from more than 60 LSMS surveys.

• Formal training courses on survey design and implementation along with hands-on-training are provided, both within and outside the Bank.
New techniques in small area estimation for poverty mapping are being developed that link census and household survey data. Training in these techniques as well as technical assistance in their implementation is also provided by DECRG-PO.

• The Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) web site provides access to documentation and data from LSMS surveys done in the region, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Romania, Russia (link to CPC site), and Tajikistan.