Consensus in Business Tendency Surveys: Comparison of Alternative Measures
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SGH Warsaw School of Economics, Poland
Submission date: 2023-08-01
Final revision date: 2023-09-28
Acceptance date: 2023-10-18
Publication date: 2023-12-29
Corresponding author
Emilia Tomczyk   

SGH Warsaw School of Economics, Poland
GNPJE 2023;316(4):17-29
In this article, we aim to compare various methods of evaluating consensus in qualitative business surveys in which respondents express expectations on the ordered scale. A reliable method of measuring degree of consensus would provide researchers with valuable information, offering a leading indicator of respondent sentiment. However, there is no single generally accepted mathematical measure applicable to evaluating agreement among respondents. Several approaches are mentioned in previous studies, including indicators based on statistical dispersion, Shannon entropy, and multi-dimensional simplex. We present measures of consensus defined in literature and discuss their advantages and limitations. We then employ these indicators to expectations expressed in Polish business tendency survey in manufacturing, and compare results across various economic variables. In several cases, we find patterns in the behavior of measures of consensus: expected prices are characterized by the highest degree of consensus among respondents, and expected production and orders – by the lowest degree of consensus. We also find linkages between the degree of consensus and degree of optimism among respondents as measured by the balance statistic for prices, employment, and general business conditions.
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