Methodology Methodology

Eurostat and the National Statistical Offices have developed a Methodological Manual for the surveys on ICT usage in enterprises and households.

Main objectives of this manual is to provide guidelines for

  • developing the national surveys
  • help harmonise the national surveys
  • help share experiences of the countries
  • best practice gathering

Detailed metadata to both surveys is available through the icon  in Tables and Database. It contains also links to national survey details (per country) or to footnotes for specific indicators.


ICT impact assessment by linking of microdata ICT impact assessment by linking of microdata

ESSnet on Linking of Microdata to Analyse ICT Impact (ESSLait), 2013

The ESSLait project built on its predecessor, the ESSLimit Project (2010-2012), and had as a general scope:

  • to apply and improve the methodology for data linking and ICT impact analysis that was developed in the ESSLimit Project and the ICT Feasibility Study (see below), and
  • to generate micro-aggregate datasets for future use.

The earlier projects demonstrated that a wealth of information can be extracted by microdata linking, through which already available information can be analysed in completely new ways. This final phase of ICT impacts work fits well with the goals of the Modernisation of European Enterprise and Trade Statistics, MEETS programme (i.e. efficient production of statistics and secondary use of data) while the analytical work relates to the themes of the Digital Agenda for Europe.

The project involved partners from 14 European statistical offices, supported by academic advisors. It used the general infrastructure developed by its predecessor projects to link and to coordinate the data management in the European statistical offices. This infrastructure enables a harmonized approach to analyse the impact of ICT usage by firms through the Distributed Microdata (DMD) approach. A common protocol is used to extract micro-aggregated information from each country's firm-level datasets. This involves the linking of firm-level datasets by participating statistical offices, and the subsequent application of a common software tailored to extract the indicators and statistical moments (means, distributions, etc) from the data. This approach guarantees the cross-country comparability of results to the highest possible degree while still allowing to obtain information on underlying distributions and correlations without impairing national rules of confidentiality. Moreover, the infrastructure allows external researchers to run their own tests on data: harmonized microdata onsite at national statistical offices enable the easy implementation of additional analyses by writing analytical add-on modules for the code.

Project documents and micro-aggregated data:

ESSnet on Linking of Microdata on ICT usage (ESSLimit), 2010 - 2012

The ESSLimit project linked microdata from Innovation, Structural Business Statistics and Business Registers to analyse impact of ICT and innovation on European Businesses. The project relied heavily on its predecessor, the 2006-2008 Eurostat ICT Impacts project.

There are two main characteristics of this project that determined the scale and scope of its research.

  • Firstly, 15 European statistical offices participated in the project which allowed for a wealth of enterprise-level data to be used, spanning 15 countries and many years and including not only ICT use data but also information derived from business registers, production surveys and innovation surveys. By linking these different datasets, richer information could be extracted from existing data sources and decisions taken at the firm-level could be investigated in greater depth. Also, enterprise-level analysis of issues of interest carried out in each country was co-ordinated and based on comparable data ensuring internationally comparable results.
  • Secondly, a cross-country dataset was built from aggregation of comparable enterprise-level data. Conceptually identical indicators were compiled at a relatively disaggregated industry level across multiple countries and time periods. The resulting dataset was used for industry-level analysis within the project; a public version of this data set can be downloaded from the link below.

The ESSLimit project, financed by Eurostat, was launched in December 2010 and finished in December 2012. It addressed some of the issues pertaining to the seven priority areas of the Digital Agenda for Europe by investigating ICT in dimensions not earlier explored nationally or internationally. As an ESSnet project, ESSLimit also followed the objectives of the MEETS programme, especially the objective of producing new relevant policy indicators without the need to collect more data and without increasing the burden on enterprises.

Project documents and micro-aggregated data:

The Eurostat ICT Impacts Project (the Feasibility Study), 2006 - 2008

A network group' of 13 European statistical offices was working between 2006 and 2008 towards

  • developing a new approach to assessing the impact of ICT on business and the economy,
  • making recommendations on future measurement needs, and
  • establishing new methods for producing indicators.

The following countries participated in the project: the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Denmark. The United Kingdom had a coordinating role.

The study developed firm-level analysis at country level, using data-linking techniques and common analytical methods across 13 countries to link IC use and business output surveys. It used links to test and extend established knowledge on ICT investment, ICT use and firm growth and productivity.

The developed approach permits production of indicators which are completely comparable across countries, and auditable back to source data, but also allows generating data, which can be used for analysis across countries and industries of differences in behaviour and performance associated with ICT use.

Project documents: