Measuring and Monitoring the Administrative Burden Caused by Official Statistics in Germany: Developing the Barometer of Burdens
Florian Spengler, Daniel Vorgrimler, Gorja Bartsch
Administrative Burden Measurement, Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), Wiesbaden, Germany

Reduction of administrative burden is high on the agenda both at national and international level. Official statistics are often perceived by businesses as being responsible for a significant share of this burden. As a result, National Statistical Institutes are confronted with discussions on the costs and benefits of high-quality official statistics. In order to increase the acceptance of official statistics in Germany, the level of statistical response burden for businesses as well and the effects of simplification efforts are quantified and communicated to respondents and the general public.

In 2006, the German Federal Government has initiated a comprehensive programme for bureaucracy reduction and better regulation. The programme includes a baseline measurement and monitoring of all information obligations for businesses due to federal legislation, including statistical reporting obligations. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) has been assigned with the measurement of the administrative burden by means of the internationally recognised Standard Cost Model.

Against the background of the overall results, the paper aims to illustrate the burden caused specifically by statistical reporting obligations and to present the effects and limits of simplification efforts in the field of statistics. In particular, the development of a so-called Barometer of Burdens for official statistics will be discussed. The Barometer of Burdens tracks all changes in administrative burden caused by official statistics, thus allowing businesses and the public to view and monitor the change of statistical response burden over time. On the basis of some of the most burdensome statistical reporting obligations, the impact of simplification measures both on administrative burden as well as on the informative value of statistics will be demonstrated. Moreover, the paper discusses important methodological issues concerning the measurement of statistical response burden, such as the adjustment of short-term economic effects on the level of burden of individual statistics.


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Ingo Pfeiffer, Reiner Staeglin: Statistical Response Burden of Companies: Cutting back Obligation to Report cannot Contribute much to Reduction of Bureaucracy Weekly Report No. 4/2006, German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Berlin 2006. Available at

Juergen Chlumsky, Bernd Schmidt, Daniel Vorgrimler, Hans-Peter Waldeck: Das Standardkosten-Modell und seine Anwendung auf Bundesebene, Wirtschaft und Statistik 10/2006, pp. 993- 1002.

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Keywords: Administrative burden; Official Statistics; Standard Cost Model (SCM); Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis)

Biography: Florian Spengler is assistant head of section at the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis), where he is responsible for methodological issues within the administrative burden measurement unit. Before joining Destatis, he worked for the consulting agency NordWestConsult. Mr. Spengler holds a university degree in Sociology from Bielefeld University.