Skip to main content

Surveys: Costs

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the marginal cost of (a) asking one additional question to all responders and (b) computerising the additional data for (i) the British Household Panel Survey, (ii) the Expenditure and Food Survey and (iii) the Labour Force Survey. (156903)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 15 October 2007:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent parliamentary question asking what estimate has been made of the marginal cost of (a) asking one additional question to all responders and (b) computerising the additional data for (i) the British household panel survey, (ii) the expenditure and food survey and (iii) the labour force survey. (156903).

I am unable to answer for the British household panel survey, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, and managed by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex University. Contact details for the Institute for Social and Economic Research are available on their website at http://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/.

For the ONS expenditure and food survey and labour force survey, the cost of questions can vary quite substantially and it is not possible to provide an average cost or the cost of computerising the additional data. In some cases answers to questions can be derived from other existing questions and in such cases there will only be a small extra cost for computerising the additional data. However, in other cases the cost of adding a new question and computerising the additional data depends on the complexity of the question. New questions may need to be extensively research tested in the field which will lead to much greater costs.