Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where are the survey data?

Almost every study which explores the behavior or attributes of households and businesses in Armenia employs survey data. Virtually all have been funded by international donors. These surveys may provide a window into the preferences of those surveyed with detailed information on the sources of income, expenditures, and demographics in case of households or employment and business activities in case of firms. And if undertaken repeatedly, they may provide a glimpse into how behavior changes over time or how it responds to changes in the economic environment and incentives.

It is important to replicate every study, and challenge every finding, particularly those that may influence policy. Yet researchers, be it in academia or otherwise, with few exceptions, do not have access to such data as most of these surveys are not made available to the public. Armstat has repeatedly refused to release the annual household survey data, and I have yet to see any of the surveys funded by USAID, UNDP, and others in the public domain. In contrast, the annual CPS household survey in the US has its own web page and anyone may download it free of charge. Similarly, household longitudinal panel data such as the PSID are also available. I am not sure that household panel data exist in Armenia!

I have provided a brief description and created links to the various surveys on Armenia on the data page of the Armenian Economic Association. Most are available in STATA format as well as CSV (easy to import into Excel). These include the Word Bank/EBRD survey of the business environment (BEEPS -- some 200 firms in Armenia), and the newly released EBRD household survey (Life in Transition survey for 2006 with 1000 Armenian households).

It is very important that researchers, academics, and the media among many others, be vocal in demanding access to the raw data behind many of the studies. It would be good to know whether anyone has compiled a list of the various surveys, and begin an effort to have them made available to the public.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Web domains registered through 2007

Updating my post over a year ago, the number of domains registered in Armenia (amnic.net) increased almost by 45 percent in 2007. Granted the numbers are small, but one is hopeful that this healthy growth will continue and even accelerate. The issues and concerns I had raised previously may still apply.

Number of Domains
1999 650
2000 1600
2001 2500
2002 2800
2003 2900
2004 3400
2005 4200
2006 6094
2007 8776

I am not sure who or for what purpose these new domains are put to use. It would be good if any of you can shed light on this.