Microdata imputations and macrodata implications: Evidence from the Ifo Business Survey
A widespread method for forecasting economic macro level parameters such as GDP growth rates is survey-based indicators that contain early information in contrast to official data. But surveys are commonly affected by nonresponding units, which can cause biased results. Many papers have examined the effect of nonresponse in individual or household surveys, but less is known in the case of business surveys. For this reason, we analyse and impute the missing observations in the Ifo Business Survey, a large business survey in Germany. The most prominent result of this survey is the Ifo Business Climate Index, a leading indicator for the German business cycle. To reflect the underlying latent data generating process, we compare different imputation approaches for longitudinal data. After this, the microdata are aggregated and the results are compared with the original indicators to evaluate their implications at the macro level. Finally, we show that the differences between the original and imputed indicators do not lead to substantial changes in the interpretation and the forecasting performance of the indicators.
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