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Facebook, the OECD & the World Bank have a new way to survey businesses

Tim Herzog's picture


Countries in which firms were surveyed for initial round of “Future of Business Survey”

Facebook, the OECD and World Bank have just released the “Future of Business Survey” - a new source of information on small and medium enterprises. You can download the report and explore the results here.

The shared goal of this work is to help policymakers, researchers, and businesses to better understand business sentiment, and to leverage a digital platform to provide a unique source of information.

In the first seven months since its launch, more than 90,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on Facebook, across 22 countries - 13 high income countries and 9 middle income countries - have responded to the online survey. The key attributes of the survey are speed, simplicity and adaptability.

There survey currently contains 15 questions, but the advantage of using an ongoing, online survey method is that new questions can be added quickly in response to emerging policy needs. As the project expands, the hope is to focus on additional issues and expand country coverage, including low income countries, which currently are not included owing to low sample size.

Understanding the current and future outlooks of businesses

It’s early days for the initiative so the results should be considered provisional. And as with any new data source, researchers need to apply extra rigor to interpreting and understanding the results. The report contains details of the methodologies used and we welcome your thoughts and feedback. The website also provides tools for users to explore the data, drilling down to the country level for example. Researchers can also request access to the underlying data, anonymized at the respondent level.

A special thanks goes to the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data for bringing our organizations together. Collaborations between public and private organizations are vital for driving progress in the way socio-economic data and produced and used, and we’re looking forward to working together in the future.

You can also watch a video (start at 14mins in) from the report’s launch yesterday featuring Facebook’s Nicola Mendelsohn, the OECD’s Martine Durand and the World Bank’s Gero Carletto.