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Collection and Evaluation of Information on Cost, Quality and Risk Factors in Establishment Surveys
John Eltinge, Bureau of Labor Statistics 
*Jeffrey Gonzalez, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Keywords: Amortization, Fixed and variable costs, Initiation costs, Intangible capital, Multiple modes of contact and collection, Operational risk, Panel survey, Responsive design, Systemic risk factors

In the design and management of large-scale establishment surveys, one needs to balance a large number of factors that may affect multiple dimensions of cost, quality and risk. This paper provides an overview of approaches to collection and evaluation of information on these factors, with principal emphasis on six points. (a) Sensitivity of stakeholders’ utility functions to changes in specific dimensions of cost, quality and risk. (b) Use of global or local approximations in assessing the prospective impact of design changes. (c ) Distinctions among fixed and variable components of cost. (d) Sensitivity of design decisions to uncertainty in available information on cost, quality and risk. (e) Collection of information on some components of cost, quality and risk on a sample basis. (f) Robustness of a design to changes in external factors, e.g., the available resource base, quality of frame information, or market structure.

The primary ideas of the paper will be illustrated with examples from (1) standard panel surveys of establishments; and (2) supplemental collection of data from establishments, to be linked with information from other establishments or households.