Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are of high relevance for the euro area economy. However, the available information is comparatively scarce. While there are timely data available on SMEs in the US and Japan, information on SMEs in the euro area and in particular on their financial situation is generally available only annually and with a substantial time lag. Moreover, it is often heterogeneous across euro area countries. If timely information is available on the financial situation of smaller firms, for example through country specific surveys, it is not easily comparable. This motivated the European Central Bank to set up a survey on access to finance across European countries, in cooperation the European Commission. The format chosen allows flexibility of sample design and questionnaire, with short implementation times and timely results. In particular, the survey mixes a six-month frequency over euro area countries with a biennial component over all European Union countries. The microdata allow results to be broken down in many different dimensions, and have contributed to the growth of a rich source of information to monitor euro area economic developments.
Keywords: Survey; Small and medium-sized enterprises; Access to finance
Biography: Sébastien Pérez-Duarte is principal economist-statistician in the Statistics Development and Coordination division of the European Central Bank, where he has worked since 2007. He is project manager for the survey on the access to finance of SMEs, and participates as well in the network of the eurosystem household finance and consumption survey. He is a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique in France, after which he worked at INSEE in the field of labour microeconometrics.