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Jacques: You cite Alan Gelb and Vijaya Ramachanran (and Benn Eifert), but their work relies heavily on the data generated by business surveys. You chose to focus on only one aspect of business surveys, the perception question, which comprises a minority of the standard enterprise survey questions used by the World Bank in its investment climate work. The productivity calculations and the association of various factors with firm-level performance depends almost entirely on survey data. A better title for your blog would have been: "Ask firms what they want, but ask them other things, too!" See, for example, "Business Environment and Comparative Advantage in Africa: Evidence from the Investment Climate Data by Benn Eifert, Alan Gelb and Vijaya Ramachandran; Center for Global Development Working Paper No. 56 http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Delivery.cfm/SSRN_ID997383_code794896.pdf?abstractid=997383&mirid=1; Generally, surveys generate a wealth of factual information on costs (dollars and days) and performance, shedding light on such issues as worker education and training, regulation and corruption, and infrastructure (including transport!). Incidentally, another article by Gelb and Ramachandran to which you may be responding is "What matters to African firms? the relevance of perceptions data" (World Bank, 2007)