The German Business Panel: Evidence on Accounting and Business Taxation
149 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2021 Last revised: 2 Aug 2022
Date Written: July 31, 2022
The German Business Panel (GBP) periodically surveys executives and key decision-makers in a representative sample of companies from Germany. We illustrate how survey evidence can meaningfully extend our understanding of managerial decisions and expectations about earnings and financial reporting, cost structures and internal reporting, as well as tax planning and responses to tax regulation. To demonstrate the suitability of GBP data for analyses of these kind of questions, we show how to draw consistent inferences about the population of German firms, validate the generalizability to other European settings, and examine the comparability with other surveys. We exemplify the usefulness of GBP data by presenting evidence from the initial waves of the GBP during the COVID-19 pandemic in summer 2020 and winter 2021. The findings show how government aid programs helped secure the solvency and, thus, the survival of the most negatively affected companies and how companies benefited from the temporary reduction of German VAT rates. We conclude by providing an outlook on how researchers can access and use the survey data for their own research questions.
Keywords: COVID-19, Crisis, Firm survey data, German Business Panel, Survey design, VAT
JEL Classification: C81, D22, D25, D80, D84, H00, H12, H32, H20, H24, H25, M40, R38
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