European Research at ZEW

Until today, the European integration project delivers great political and economic benefits to Europeans. Events such as the euro debt crisis and Brexit, however, have raised the question to which extent the EU and its current structures are still fit for the future. ZEW wants to contribute its research and knowledge to the understanding of different reform options. For example, we develop models for an appropriate and intelligent harmonisation of European tax policies. Moreover, ZEW researchers are asking, how the eurozone could be made crisis-proof. A further key topic on our research agenda is the European budget and how it should be structured in the future so that it creates a genuine European added value on fields such as climate protection, migration policy, and security.

Friedrich Heinemann
ZEW expert

Prof. Dr. Friedrich Heinemann

Please contact me for inquiries.
Phone: +49 (0)621 1235-149
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The EU must develop in such a way that it convincingly demonstrates its benefit to all Member States and their citizens over and over again.

ZEW Expert Friedrich Heinemann on European Research at ZEW

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We need European approaches: ZEW expert Friedrich Heinemann on our European research at ZEW (in German with English subtitles).

European Fiscal Institutions

Europe introduced the euro in 1999 as its common currency. This step towards monetary integration was initially associated with only minor adjustments in fiscal institutions. As of now, though, the euro sovereign debt crisis has revealed the weaknesses of this constellation; to date, the fiscal institutions of the eurozone remain incomplete. A key question of our research in this field is: how can fiscal responsibility and European solidarity be brought into balance?

ZEW project

EU Research Programme SEEK

The international research programme, Strengthening Efficiency and Competitiveness in the European Knowledge Economies (SEEK), at ZEW Mannheim was dedicated to analysing the most pressing issues of European economic policy through application-oriented research.

Read more about our project


Views of French, German and Italian Parliamentarians on EU and EMU Reforms

French, Italian and German MPs are open to granting the EU more competencies in the fields of defense and immigration policy. There is also broad agreement on giving legislative initiative to the European Parliament and on increasing national investment expenditure to boost economic growth. There is, however, considerable disagreement over certain reform proposals for the eurozone: French and Italian MPs support the implementation of new European Monetary Union (EMU) institutions such as a euro area budget and Eurobonds, while the Germans oppose them.

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New EU Competence Catalogue

The German government should start pushing for the EU to redistribute responsibilities between Brussels and the Member States. For example, responsibilities such as safeguarding farmers’ income should return to the remit of the individual countries. On the other hand, EU institutions should be assuming far greater responsibility for development aid, defence, and asylum policy.

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Dispelling the Shadow of Fiscal Dominance? Fiscal and Monetary Announcement Effects for Euro Area Sovereign Spreads in the Corona Pandemic

Current research on the impact of monetary versus fiscal policy announcements on euro area government bond spreads in the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic.

To the publication in the “Journal of International Money and Finance”

MannheimTaxation: Europe's Tax System of the Future

What does the tax policy of the future look like? What can our research contribute to the European and global tax integration? And how can we make the tax system ready for the economic and social challenges of our time? A joint initiative of ZEW and the University of Mannheim, The Leibniz Science Campus MannheimTaxation, deals with these questions. MannheimTaxation research is interdisciplinary, spanning the fields of economics, business administration, law, and political science.


Mannheim Tax Index

Our calculation of tax attractiveness in Europe

Further information

Tax Race to the Bottom Harms Location Attractiveness of Western Europe

In a globalised and digitalised economy, the mobility of capital and labour is increasing. This promotes global tax competition: in the case of corporate income taxation, a race to the bottom can still be observed today. Contrary to this trend, the effective average tax burden of a highly qualified employee is noticeably stagnating, while top statutory tax rates for high-income earners are rising. In the future, however, the taxation of highly qualified, mobile workers could become more important due to the massive digitalisation boost caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Debt-Equity Bias Should Be Addressed on National Rather Than on EU Level

The debt-equity bias is a deep-rooted issue in today’s tax system and inhibits equity-financed investments. A recent ZEW policy brief shows that harmonisation at the European level is not suitable for solving the tax-induced distortion. Instead, the researchers recommend addressing the debt-equity  bias on national level, e.g. by implementing a dual income tax.

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EU Companies Suffer Losses in Stock Market Value After Announcement of Public Country-by-Country Reporting

European companies will be obliged to disclose their country-related profits and income taxes in the form of so-called country-by-country reporting in the future. A corresponding draft directive was approved today by the Parliament of the European Union. The aim of the directive is to detect and curb tax avoidance practices. The announcement of a preliminary political agreement on 1 June 2021 to introduce such a directive had already led to noticeable reactions on the capital market: A current study by ZEW Mannheim, in cooperation with the University of Mannheim, identified cumulative average abnormal returns between ‑0.499 and ‑0.699 per cent for up to two days after the announcement. This corresponds to a cumulative loss in firm value of 48 to 65 billion euros.

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Growth, Productivity and Innovation in Europe

Europe can only be successful in pursuing its ambitious goals in areas such as social policy, ecology and international development if it has a sound economic basis. Against this background, ZEW aims to contribute its research and knowledge of the subject to a better understanding of the determinants of innovation, start-up processes, and entrepreneurship. ZEW thus positions itself as a policy advisor on innovation and technology issues at the national and European level.

ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment

Economic Development of the Eurozone Inecreased

The financial market experts’ sentiment concerning the economic development of the eurozone increased by 1.5 points in June and currently stands at minus 28.0 points. The situation indicator rose to a new level of minus 26.4 points, increasing 8.6 points compared to the previous month. Inflation expectations for the eurozone declined again in the June survey. The indicator currently stands at minus 32.4 points, 21.8 points lower than in May.

Read more on the economic expectations

ZEW project

Growth Welfare Innovation and Productivity

Well before the Great Recession, the strikingly successful socio-economic regime of growth of the three decades after WWII came to an end as the smooth matching among technological innovation, productivity growth, income distribution and aggregate demand increasingly broke down. However, a new virtuous regime is hardly emerging and growth of income and productivity remains sluggish especially in Europe. Our project GROWINPRO has the goal of delivering a set of policy solutions aimed at restoring sustained and inclusive growth

Read more about GROWINPRO


New Perspectives in European Innovation Policy

Innovation is essential for economic growth and governments must encourage firms to increase their investments in innovation. Europe is losing ground to its main Asian competitors when it comes to R&D investment and is barely keeping pace with the U.S. Moreover, the rate of return on innovation has become significantly weaker in Europe. This has been caused by its relative lack of innovative SMEs, the slow diffusion of innovation, and the increasingly competitive innovation marketplace. In this light, scholars and policy makers are arguing for a new approach to European innovation policy that puts more weight on the development of disruptive innovation and on the diffusion of new technologies throughout the market.

Read more in our ZEW policy brief 18-07

ZEW President

Achim Wambach

Europe is the answer for many of the current economic challenges; European added value can only be developed together.