The German Business Panel (GBP) is a long-term survey panel of the DFG-funded supraregional project “TRR 266 Accounting for Transparency”.


The goal of the GBP is to answer questions that are highly relevant for companies and society. The research results serve to improve the understanding of corporate behavior, economic decisions, mechanisms of change in the corporate landscape and the impact of political decisions. To this end, the firm context, industry-specific circumstances, and institutional and policy frameworks are considered. The surveys and data collection are subject to the strictest data protection regulations, compliance with which is regularly monitored by internal and external mechanisms.Panel participants are surveyed on a semi-annual basis on topics in the area of financial accounting, managerial accounting and taxation.
For example, the survey includes questions regarding tax rate uncertainty, expectations about future tax rates, tax planning processes within firms, expected costs and benefits of mandatory disclosure, interactions between internal and external financial reporting, and company characteristics such as cost structure or investment plans.
A particular focus will be on questions that are difficult to address with conventional data sources. For example, we are interested in the role of accounting and taxation for strategic decisions; for instance: how do managers incorporate matters of accounting and taxation when making important strategic decisions such as investments, relocations or M&A? The survey will also shed light on aspects such as expectations about regulation (e.g., future tax rates or accounting rules) and their effects, uncertainty about future regulation and future firm developments, the role of uncertainty for decisions, and perceived tax complexity. The survey will also feature questions about the organizational structure of firms and shed light on questions such as: are matters of accounting and taxation handled internally or is everything organized by an external tax advisor or accounting company? How does the organizational structure adopt to new developments and regulations in the context of accounting and taxation? We will also survey “standard” firm performance indicators in real-time, again with a focus on aspects of accounting and taxation. As the Corona focus of the first wave shows, the survey is generally very flexible and can be adjusted on short-notice to consider very recent developments.
The collected data are made available in the spirit of the open research data concept and the FAIR principles to stimulate research in business economics, especially in areas for which empirical evidence is hard to collect.

Data Usage
The publications in TRR 266 follow the Open Science principles. To meet strict data protection requirements at the same time, the German Business Panel provides absolutely anonymized microdata for scientific research and statistical purposes in the form of Public Use Files (PUFs). Due to the high degree of anonymization, only selected characteristics are included in the PUFs. Subject-deep characteristics are usually aggregated. Deeper spatial delineations cannot be made on the basis of the PUFs. In addition, the German Business Panel provides structure files that are useful for preparing and checking Stata codes for controlled remote data processing. These files retain the structure of the variables in the original data: they have the same variable names and variable and value labels; sensitive features are coarsened or excluded. The individual waves of the structure files should be able to be built up into a longitudinal section so that correlations over time are not lost. Content evaluations are not possible with the structural data themselves.

The analyses of the surveys are published at regular intervals as reports on the results.
Research projects conducted on the basis of the German Business Panel data and available as discussion papers prior to publication are referenced below:
• Bischof, J., Doerrenberg, P., Rostam‐Afschar, D., Simons, D., & Voget, J. (2021). The German Business Panel: Insights on Corporate Taxation and Accounting during the COVID-19 Pandemic. TRR 266 Working Paper Series No. 46. https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3777306
Completed research projects based on the German Business Panel data are referenced below:
• Bischof, J., Karlsson, C., Rostam-Afschar, D., & Simon, T. (2021). Die Bedeutung der Kostenstruktur für die Effektivität von Staatshilfen. Wirtschaftsdienst, 101(7), 536-543. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10273-021-2962-x
• Bischof, J., Dörrenberg, P., Eble, F., Karlsson, C., Rostam-Afschar, D., Simons, D., & Voget, J. (2021). German Business Panel: Empirische Evidenz zu den Auswirkungen der Corona-Krise auf deutsche Unternehmen. Der Betrieb: DB, 74(18), 909-912.

Why should you participate?
Your answers enable us to take a well-founded position on economic policy decisions on the basis of your expert statements and thus improve the framework conditions for the development of your company. It goes without saying that data protection and anonymity are guaranteed. As a panel member, you enjoy the advantages of having direct access to the research results after completion of the survey series, as well as being able to enter into direct exchange with us on the further development of the research agenda.
Such research on the impact of regulation, particularly in financial and tax reporting, is important because these impacts affect all businesses.

Do you have any questions or would you like to contact the German Business Panel? You can reach out to us at:
Dr. Davud Rostam-Afschar
Scientific Project Manager
+49 (0) 621 181 3286
We offer office hours every Thursday from 10-11am for researchers and others interested, feel free to call us on Thursdays.