Business tendencies surveys are based on identifying various aspects and motivations of entrepreneurial behavior, attitudes, expectations of economic entities, factors affecting the intensity of the ongoing industry processes, and generally provide realistic high-quality information for making operative decisions. We highlight the special importance of applying this tool to modern economic systems due to the limited capacity for compensating the incompleteness of economic information only through existing statistical practices.
The general purpose of the study was to update the non-quantitative monitoring of business trends in Russia's economic development by forming a complex system of short-term indicators of the business climate, including those of a generalizing nature, in the environment of introducing international standards of collecting and disseminating nonparametric statistics.
We considered the following specific tasks:
– Examination of updated methodological and practical principles of business climate studies carried out in the European Union based on the results of market surveys of sectoral business trends;
– Adaptation of Western practices in collating and analyzing information obtained by business tendecies surveys of Russian conditions, taking into account the current stage of Russia's economic development and introduction of contemporary international standards for the collection and dissemination of information into the statistical practice;
– Updating programs of business climate surveys towards questionnaire unification, harmonization of short-term non-quantitative indicators;
– Development and implementation in economic monitoring of a unified program of business climate surveys in the services sector;
– Organizing a control system of to ensure the reliability the results of selective business climate monitoring for types of economic activity;
– Streamlining methods of processing the time series for Russia’s business climate indicators which are related to identifying seasonal and cyclical components;
– Developing a system of weight coefficients that adjust the selective evaluations of the business climate, taking into account the structural and quality specifics of a universe at the modern stage of modern economy development;
– Technical and technological support of practical calculations and use of integrated business climate indicators in the country.
To expand the sectoral coverage, in 2010 within the framework of this study we carried out a pilot survey of selective business climate survey for the service sector. Its main task was to create and test a unified program of surveys in the services sector, based on the experience and recommendations of international organizations, taking into account current development characteristics and compatibility of the results with the Joint Harmonized EU Program of Business and Consumer Surveys. Based on the expanded program, we surveyed the organizations that provide information and computer services, educational services, healthcare and tourism services.
Moreover, in the context of the study, we carried out a pilot calculation of the composite Economic Sentiment Index (HSE Index) that sums up the changes in the results of business tendencies surveys in terms of the indicators that are most closely related to the respective statistical indicators of those economic sectors that make a significant (more than 45%) contribution to the added national value. Similar indices are widely used in the international practice of economic surveys and display a strong correlation between their performance and gross domestic product. Given the promptness of the calculation (1.5-2 months before the release of official statistics on gross domestic product), the Economic Sentiment Index (HSE Index) may be very helpful for the forecasting of economic development.