Goal of research
The general goal of research of the Centre for Business Tendency Studies (CBTS) ISSEK HSE, which is regularly carried out within the framework of the HSE Basic Research Program, is to expand continuously the methodological and analytical support of an integrated system of sectoral business tendency surveys; harmonize it with updated international standards; implement the results into the federal statistical observation; update the corpus of the simple and composite indicators that lead the cyclic profiles of the reference quantitative statistics.
The key objective of the study in 2018 is to develop some aspects of the methodological, analytical and visual tools of business tendency monitoring, aimed at filling the gaps in information regarding:
- Recovery trends in the dynamics of economic sentiment and business climate, including ones by kinds of manufacturing activities; by sectors that form and meet consumer demand, taking into account inflation expectations and consumer behavior of the population; in construction and services;
- Differentiation of business tendencies by groups of manufacturing industries according to their technological level and identification of more homogeneous groups of enterprises with medium and high of technology levels for the subsequent analysis;
- Trends and extent of the sectoral use of information technologies (IT) as a trigger for total productivity growth and readiness of industries for digitalization;
- Creation of clusters of manufacturing technological and investment activity, the efficiency of the domestic commodity market, expansion and "viability" of small business;
- Digitalization of industry and other economic activities; potential, directions and limiting factors of IT services in the real economy;
- Direction, synchronization and impact of entrepreneurial uncertainty on the overall economic growth, uncertainty relationship with economic sentiment and confidence indicators.
The methodology of the business tendency monitoring by CBTS is in line with international recommendations and takes into account the peculiarities of the Russian economy. Updating the program and methods of surveys is based on the study of scientific and practical resources of world’s leading institutions in the field of organization and conducting business tendency monitoring.
To analyze the surveys’ results, the fundamentals of mathematical statistics concerning non-parametric information are used: econometric methods to decompose the cyclical indicators dynamics; factor, cluster and variance analysis to construct composite indicators, entrepreneurial behavior patterns and to assess economic uncertainty, respectively; regression approach to quantify qualitative survey statistics; rolling cross-correlation analysis to assess the relationship of qualitative and quantitative statistics; VAR and VEC modeling to identify the consistency and direction of relationships between stationary and cointegrated time series, impulse response function to interpret the simulation results.
Empirical base of research
In 2018, the total coverage of a stratified sample of regular monitoring amounted to about 37 000 observation units in all Russian regions. Entrepreneurial opinions, estimates, expectations and intentions revealed by monthly and quarterly surveys (conducted by the Federal State Statistics Service) substantially enhanced the empirical base of research reflected the economic and consumer sentiments of Russian economic agents over the past 20 years.
The total sample of the pilot surveys amounted to more than 3400 units of observation (manufacturing and retail organizations, investment-active manufacturing enterprises, IT organizations). In addition, 1 150 manufacturing and 700 retail trade organizations are surveyed in the format of the level and dynamics of their digitization.
Results of research
A tangible result in 2018, which increases research scientific value and is aimed at expanding the information capabilities of business tendency monitoring in manufacturing, is the toolkit to calculate a new composite indicator – the business climate index in manufacturing (HSE BCIm). The feasibility of such an alternative indicator that combine only ‘common’ information on entrepreneurial behavior, in addition to the traditional confidence indicator, has been proved, and the experimental calculation of the HSE BCIm both for manufacturing as a whole and for medium and high-tech industries has been carried out.
In 2018, information content of business tendency monitoring in the services regarding their cyclical and predictive abilities were studied for the first time. The experimental business climate indicator in services reflects the dynamics of GDP growth more effectively than the traditional confidence indicator in terms of the rolling cross-correlations; so, it can be used for nowcasting and short-term forecasting of economic development.
The results of measuring the main trends in the IT industry allowed us to assess the digital progress of the Russian economy and to study current trends: inclusive solutions in the IT sector; dynamics of Russian software development; cloud technologies; Internet of things; Big Data and Analytics; IT promotion in the "public" sectors of the Russian economy. The results of cluster analysis of behavioral patterns of companies confirmed the reliability of short-term entrepreneurial forecasts, identified the adaptive potential of the IT segment to market shocks.
A new research area in 2018 is the development of new indicators and a built-in set of questions regarding the digital activity of economic agents for the pilot surveys. For the first time, the level and intensity of digitalization of the national economy were identified on the basis of entrepreneurial opinions and intentions regarding the pace and scope of digital technologies development by their main types, the industries readiness for digital transformation, as well as risks, challenges, barriers of digitalization. Entrepreneurial assessments of the potential benefits of implementation of new digital solutions are obtained and analyzed, including such tools of "Industry 4.0" as optimization of equipment operation modes, energy efficiency, productivity and safety, logistics optimization, improving the production quality and after-sales service. The effects of such economic events have not yet been measured reliably in the country; these results undoubtedly enhance the quality of information flows related to the positive impact of digitalization on the economy.
In order to expand competence in the context of the study of international experience in measuring digital progress, the research presents in detail the relevant practice of the European Commission, as well as (for the first time) an explicit comparison of all published official statistics in Russia with the information collected by Eurostat.
Regular business tendency monitoring in the real sector and services timely measures the path of sectoral development and short-term fluctuations where traditional statistics is still not sufficient, prompt and revises frequently. In particular, its results made it possible to assess the adaptation of the Russian economy to anti-crisis solutions, new models of cyclical growth, volatility on commodity markets, accumulation of financial and external imbalances, the level of economic uncertainty and business confidence.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results
In 2018, the program for integrating HSE information into the OECD database ‘Business tendency and consumer opinion’, which consolidates the time series of business and consumer survey results in OECD countries, continued to be implemented. The database is regularly updated with the results of business tendency surveys of industry (monthly monitoring of about 3100 organizations), construction and retail trade (quarterly monitoring of about 6500 and more than 4000 organizations, respectively). In 2018, the information transfer was supplemented by the results of quarterly monitoring of about 6000 services organizations.
In 2018, the total output of information and analytical materials, including the results of regular and pilot monitoring, amounted to more than 1000 pages. Information and analytical materials on the monitoring results are regularly submitted to the Federal legislative and executive authorities, published in the media and online, discussed on federal TV channels, radio channels (more than 2000 references to the research in 201).
The results of the Russian business tendency surveys, implementation of their results in monitoring and forecasting of economic development were presented in the report 'Information Content of the Russian Services Surveys' at the international CIRET/KOF ETH/Getulio Vargas Foundation conference ‘Economic Tendency Surveys and Economic Policy’ (Rio de Janeiro, 12-15 September 2018).
According to the preliminary agreement reached at the working meeting Rio de Janeiro on September 2018, the results of business tendency monitoring of CBTS are expected to include in regular joint publications of dynamic series related to business cycles in the BRICS countries.
Based on the monitoring methodological peculiarities and results, the chapter ‘Russian Business Tendency Surveys by HSE and Rosstat’ in the monograph ‘Business Cycles in the BRICS’ was published by Springer in September 2018; four articles were published in the scientific journals indexed in the RSCI and two articles – in the other Russian economic journals; one working paper was published online in the Science, Technology and Innovation series WP BRP; analytical report ‘Industrial Development in CIS Countries: Are there Conditions for Re-industrialization Capacity Building’ was published on the UNIDO website. All analytical papers are available online.