Reducing respondents’ burden

Statistics Austria regards the citizens and companies from whom it obtains data as partners and, adhering to the provisions of the Federal Statistics Act and its own mission statement, endeavours to minimise the workload placed on respondents as a result of surveys. The implementation of measures to reduce the workload and close cooperation with the interest groups of those with a duty to provide information are primary concerns with the highest priority.

Measures for reducing the burden

  • Use of existing data sources (administrative data, public registers): clear precedence over Statistics Austria surveys
  • Principle of non-obligation: surveys are prescribed only when the voluntary provision of information cannot be expected
  • Precedence of random sampling: full survey only when sampling is not appropriate
  • Reduction of the scale of samples by modifying survey designs (e.g. concentrated sample) and the use of suitable estimation methods in order to replace non-surveyed data with estimates
  • Use of efficient, user-friendly, Internet-based survey tools.

Measuring response burden

In conjunction with the cooperation agreement between WKÖ (Austrian Economic Chamber) and Statistics Austria, a monitoring system has been developed for measuring companies’ workload resulting from obligatory surveys conducted by Statistics Austria (“response burden barometer”). The time input required to fulfil reporting obligations is used as the primary measure for ascertaining the workload. Currently data are available for the period from 2001 to 2016.

In 2016, only around 10.5% of all Austrian enterprises had to report data on a compulsory basis for surveys conducted by Statistics Austria; 61.2% of these enterprises had to report for one survey only. The total response burden decreased from 2001 to 2016 by 18.2%, even though new surveys had to be introduced in this period. The reduction of the burden was mainly achieved by reducing sample frames, rise in thresholds and the increasing use of administrative data and electronic reporting devices.

The main results of the “response burden barometer” are made available to the public at least once a year in the Statistical Newsletter and on the “Response Burden Barometer” web page published by Statistics Austria.