Can Survey-Based Information Help Assess Investment Gaps in the EU?

40 Pages Posted: 14 May 2019

See all articles by Pana Alves

Pana Alves

Banco de España

Daniel Dejuan-Bitria

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Laurent Maurin

European Central Bank (ECB) - Directorate General Economics

Date Written: May 13, 2019


This study illustrates how information from micro-level and survey-based databases can be used, along with macroeconomic indicators, to provide a better understanding of corporate investment obstacles across the EU. To show this, we use a novel dataset merging firm-level data from the European Investment Bank Investment Survey (EIBIS) and hard data from corporations’ balance sheet and P&L information. We show that the indicators of impediments to investment at the country level, which can be derived from aggregating qualitative answers, correlate relatively well with macro-based hard data, which are commonly considered as determinants of investments in macro-based models. After controlling for firm-specific characteristics, the perceived investment gap (the difference between desired and actual investment) remains correlated with the reported impediments. While access to finance is not the most reported obstacle, reporting it has the highest information content. Moreover, the signal intensifies when it is given by “weaker” firms, defined as those that are smaller, and/or more indebted, and/or less profitable and/or with lower liquidity positions. From a policy standpoint, our findings suggest that survey-based information can be a useful input to complement both macro and micro hard data and better inform the design of targeted policies to support investment.

Keywords: investment obstacles, investment gap, corporate investment, investment determinants, survey-based information, access to finance

JEL Classification: D22, D25, G30, G38

Suggested Citation

Alves, Pana and Dejuan-Bitria, Daniel and Maurin, Laurent, Can Survey-Based Information Help Assess Investment Gaps in the EU? (May 13, 2019). Banco de Espana Occasional Papers No. 1908 (2019), Available at SSRN: or

Pana Alves (Contact Author)

Banco de España ( email )

Alcala 50
Madrid 28014

Daniel Dejuan-Bitria

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005

Laurent Maurin

European Central Bank (ECB) - Directorate General Economics ( email )

Kaiserstrasse 29
D-60311 Frankfurt am Main

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