An Overview of the Use of Administrative Data for Business Statistics in Europe
Luigi Costanzo1, Grazia Di Bella1, Elizabeth Hargreaves2, Humberto J. Pereira3, Sofia Rodrigues3
1ISTAT, Rome, Italy; 2ONS, Newport, United Kingdom; 3INE, Lisbon, Portugal

The replacement of direct surveys by the exploitation of administrative sources is a consolidated trend all over Europe, but the documentation available about the use of administrative data in statistical production is often fragmentary and heterogeneous.

Administrative sources are designed and managed to implement national regulations, and as a result the structure and content even of the same source (e.g. the VAT register) often differs from country to country. Moreover, the use of administrative data for statistical purposes is subject to different rules and conditions in different countries, and largely depends also on less tangible issues such as the level of cooperation in relationships with the Public Administration.

The lack of a consistent European picture of the use of administrative data in business statistics makes it difficult to share best practice at an international level.

One work package of the ESSnet Project on the Uses of Administrative and Accounts Data for Business Statistics (Admin Data ESSnet) is therefore seeking to fill this gap by producing an overview of the use of administrative data within EU and EFTA countries. The required information was collected initially by carrying out (in 2009) an extensive literature search, and then by contacting the NSIs directly (in 2010) and asking them to validate the information found.This presentation provides a summary of the results of this work, which will be fully available, together with a Reference library, on the Admin Data ESSnet Information Centre ( The topics covered are:

a) General issues (by country): Legal basis for (and legal barriers to) the use of administrative data; Collaboration between the NSIs and the administrative data holders; Organisational solutions adopted within the NSIs for managing administrative data; Projects in process to increase/improve the use of administrative data in business statistics.

b) Existing practices (by country and by each of the European regulations being considered - Business Register, Short Term Statistics, Structural Business Statistics and Prodcom): Combination of sources used (and why administrative data are not used, where applicable); Administrative sources to which each NSI has access (including information about the periodicity and the level of aggregation of the data provided); How these administrative sources are used by the NSI (as direct sources, as sampling frames, for editing and validation, for imputation of missing values, in estimation procedures, etc.).

Keywords: Administrative data; Business statistics

Biography: Researcher at the National Statistics Institute of Italy (Istat), Division of Statistical registers, Administrative data and Statistics on Public administration.

Currently participating in the ESSnet Admin Data project as leader of the Work Package 1 (Overview of the uses of administrative data for producing business statistics in EU and EFTA).