The German Business Panel: Evidence on Accounting and Business Taxation
153 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2021 Last revised: 10 Nov 2023
Date Written: November 9, 2023
The German Business Panel (GBP) periodically surveys key decision-makers in a large sample of companies in Germany. The survey questions investigate the inputs to managers’ accounting and taxation choices as well as the expected and perceived outcomes of those decisions. To obtain causal evidence, the survey supports the use of randomized survey experiments. The evidence from the GBP can meaningfully advance our understanding of issues that require data on internal processes as well as expectations, perceptions, and objectives behind ex-post reported accounting figures. The target population comprises the universe of legal entities included in the official German Statistical Business Register. We show that the dominance of small and medium-sized entities is a feature that Germany shares with many European countries, implying that GBP findings will be reasonably generalizable to European settings. The sampling procedure combines commercially available e-mail addresses of firms and contacts from convenience networks. The participating firms are reasonably comparable to the target population along many key characteristics, but differ in size and legal form, with small firms and especially sole proprietors being underrepresented. The GBP offers survey weights that improve representativeness. We illustrate the usefulness of GBP data by presenting evidence from the initial waves of the GBP during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The findings show how government aid programs contributed unevenly to the solvency of the most negatively affected companies, and how companies, rather than consumers, benefited from a temporary reduction of VAT rates. The paper also demonstrates how the scientific community can use the GBP data.
Keywords: COVID-19, Crisis, Firm survey data, German Business Panel, Survey design, Tax Expectations, VAT
JEL Classification: C81, D22, D25, D80, D84, H00, H12, H32, H20, H24, H25, M40, R38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation