The strengths of the survey, from the point of view of this paper, are the use of a consistent survey instrument across virtually all transition countries and range of market economy comparators, and, for the transition countries, over a substantial period of time.4 The 1999 and subsequent BEEPS surveys included 3-year retrospective questions, and we are therefore able to track developments in transition over a period of 6 to 9 years. These two strengths allow us to benchmark the transition countries against developed market economies, and to track their progress in transition. The main weakness of the BEEPS is the consequence of the wide coverage and finite budgets: the sample sizes for individual countries are relatively small. Even in the biggest BEEPS round in 2005, most country samples have fewer than 400 firms. In the first BEEPS surveys in 1999, a typical country sample had about 150 firms. See Table II.2 for the composition of BEEPS surveys by country and year of implementation. The implication of this is that too great a degree of disaggregation in the analysis would results in systematic differences across countries and over time being swamped by noise in the data. We therefore aggregate across countries in much of our analysis.
Our aggregation scheme separates countries according to position in Europe at the time of the most recent BEEPS surveys in 2005, and according to income as of 1999.
Aggregation scheme: By income and position in Europe
Cohesion countries (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain)
EU8 (new members as of May 2004) (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia)
Lower middle income transition countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro / Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Ukraine)
4 Although the BEEPS survey instrument has been modified each time it was implemented, the range of questions that remained consistent across surveys is substantial.