G. Goldrian, J.D. Lindbauer, G. Nerb, with a contribution by B. Ulrich
The Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) conducts a number of surveys within the framework of the Joint Harmonised EU Programme of Business and Consumer Surveys. This programme was launched in 1962 with the industrial survey, and since then there has been a spectacular growth of business and consumer surveys in the EU. At present five surveys are conducted on a monthly basis: Industry, Consumers, Retail Trade, Construction and Service Sector. In addition, twice a year data for a harmonised investment survey is collected and published. Finally, the quarterly EconomicSurvey International (ESI) provides us with an assessment of the world-wide economic situation by 500 experts in 60 countries.
All indicators must be revised from time to time in order to validate their explanatory properties. Therefore, structural economic changes demand periodic revisions of the indicators in order to explain the economic reality.
This study contracted to IFO shows that although there is some room for improvement, the current indicators still seem to be quite adequate. The study contains four main suggestions which will be extensively tested by DG ECFIN in order to evaluate the convenience of adopting each one of them for an eventual overhaul of the Economic Sentiment Indicator in the near future.