Italian Labour Force Survey

Italian Labour Force Survey

Data collection from ISTAT (1993-2003)

October 20 2004



ISTAT, the Italian National Statistical Office, produces the official Labour Force Surveys which contains information on various labour market issues for 300 thousands Italian families and about 800 thousands individuals. The survey is conducted quarterly (January, April, July and October) and the available microdata start in October 1992. The sample is a rotating panel of households: each sampled household remains in the sample for two quarters, than exits for two quarters and enters again for two final one before leaving the sample. This structure allows to reconstruct labour market flows on a quarterly and annual basis, however, only the annual longitudinal structure is made available in the microdata.
The Documentation Centre of the Fondazione RDB collects the files of all the April cross-sections and all the available year-to-year longitudinal files.


The data provided by Istat are in ascii format. However, the Fondazione Ing. Rodolfo Debenedetti distributes a complete set of dictionaries that can be used to import the microdata into Stata (the dictionaries are written for Stata8.2 but should work with minor modification for earlier versions as well).

Dictionaries for cross-sectional data:
These dictionaries allow to import into Stata8.2 the original ascii microdata of all the currently available April sweeps of the Italian Labour Force Surveys, from April 1993 to April 2003. Moreover, the dictionaries automatically name variables that are repeated throughout several sweeps with identical names so that they can be easily recognised in each file. A companion table describes how variables´ definitions and names change from sweep to sweep (Tabella riassuntiva LFS.pdf).

Dictionaries for longitudinal data:
These dictionaries, like those for the cross-sectional data, import into Stata8.2 the data from the original ascii files. The original data provided by ISTAT contain information for half of the individuals in the cross-section but for two adjacent years (from April to April of the following year). The dictionaries automatically name variables that are repeated in the two years with identical names, but variables referred to the second year are preceded by the type “_”. As far as possible, the variable names are comparable with those in the cross-sectional files.

All the dictionaries and the related documentation (companion table and instructions) are freely downloadable below. We have made every effort to control for possible mistakes. Please, inform us if you experience any malfunctioning. We are certain that with the cooperation of everyone these tools can be improved.

Credits: The dictionaries has been developed by Paola Monti and Michele Pellizzari.


Access to the data

The microdata are only available on CD at the Fondazione and can only be used with an official licence of ISTAT. The Fondazione however, makes freely available a number of technical tools that researchers might find it useful in working with these data files.