Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.10, No.3, 1994. pp. 277–305
Differences in the Measurement of Employment in the Labour Force Surveys in the European Community
Aloïs Van Bastelaer
Abstract:For a better understanding of the comparability of the employment rates in the European Community, we need to know how seriously such rates are affected by the conditions under which these surveys are conducted. This article focuses on one of the essential survey conditions, i.e., the questionnaire. The cognitive tasks put to the respondent in the interview provide a framework for the analysis. We propose a set of requirements that the labour force survey questions should satisfy. These requirements are derived from the different job characteristics of five specific categories of employed persons, persons who are temporarily absent from their work but who have a job, unpaid family workers, persons with a minor job, casual workers and persons with a job that yields no pay or profit. We then compare the actual questionnaires of the labour force surveys to these requirements. To the extent that these questionnaires deviate from one or more requirements, the comparability of the employment rates is hampered.
Keywords:Employment measurement; international comparability; questionnaire design.
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