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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. The IHSN is developing a new version of its survey catalog. In 2012, a new survey catalog, compliant with the DDI metadata standard, will be launched. The catalog will cover all low and middle-income countries. The 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 by a large number of agencies in over 60 countries. The World Bank, in partnership with PARIS21, is providing training and technical support to statistical agencies and other national and regional data producers and curators on the use of the DDI standard. In 2012, this technical support program is expected to cover an increasing number of countries in Easter Europe and Central Asia.

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. This work will continue in 2012, in collaboration or coordination with European-based agencies (EUROSTAT, OECD, University of Vienna, and others).

The World Bank and IHSN will continue the development of methodological guidelines related to the implementation of household surveys and the use of survey data. These guidelines will include i) the documentation of microdata management and dissemination good practices; ii) a global assessment of the relevance of household food consumption survey data, with recommendations for improving data collection methods (with FAO), and iii) guidelines for the implementation of the Generic Statistical Business Process Model (GSBPM) in the specific context of household survey implementation.

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 database 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 metadata 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.

• 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. The goal is to foster increased use of household data as a basis for policy decision-making. The LSMS is working to develop new methods to monitor progress in raising levels of living, to identify the consequences for households of past and proposed government policies, and to improve communications between survey statisticians, analysts, and policy makers. A variety of printed and electronic materials are also available to survey planners and analysts. Several of these are:
i) the 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.
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 88 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, Serbia, and Tajikistan. For more information, visit the LSMS site.