Seminar by ZEW and BvD Provides Insight into Research Projects


Using the Orbis and Zephyr Databases for Scientific Work

The seminar on July 1, 2021, focused on the scientific use of BvD's Orbis and Zephyr databases and the possibilities they enable.

“Taxation, Venture Financing and State Aid: Using Orbis & Zepyhr Data in Economic Analysis” was the title of an online seminar organised by ZEW Mannheim and Bureau van Dijk (BvD) on 1 July 2021. The seminar focused on the scientific use of BvD’s Orbis and Zephyr databases. By presenting three research projects, scientists from several European research institutions illustrated the many possibilities of using the two databases.

First, Maximilian Todtenhaupt, assistant professor at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), demonstrated how the Orbis and Zephyr databases can be used to study productivity effects in mergers and acquisitions. In his research project, the results of which have been published in a renowned international journal, he and Johannes Voget, professor at the University of Mannheim and Research Associate at ZEW, investigated the role tax differentials between countries play for productivity gains through mergers and acquisitions. Using data on around 11,000 international ownership changes, the two authors show that tax differentials between the locations of two merging firms have a negative impact on productivity gains.

In his presentation, Marius Berger, researcher at ZEW Mannheim, presented a current research project that examines the impact of subsidies for start-ups and follow-on financing by venture capitalists. He and his co-author Hanna Hottenrott, professor at the TUM School of Management at the Technical University of Munich, investigate whether firms that receive subsidies such as grants and low-interest loans are more likely to raise certain VC funding. For their project, the researchers use data on minority shareholdings from the Zephyr database, which they link to the IAB/ZEW start-up panel, among others. Their results show that government subsidies in particular increase the probability of funding by early-stage investors (business angels and public venture capital funds).

Sven Heim, assistant professor of economics at the University MINES ParisTech, gave an insight into how he uses Orbis data for competition economics issues. He and his co-authors Professor Kai Hüschelrath (Schmalkalden University), Professor Philipp Schmidt-Dengler (University of Vienna), and Dr. Maurizio Strazzeri (University of Bern), investigate the impact of state aid on the survival and financial viability of aided firms. With the help of the Orbis database, the authors were able to match these companies with non-aid receiving counterparts, which allowed them to observe how the companies would have developed without aid. Their results, which were published in the peer-reviewed journal European Economic Review, show that state aid not only significantly reduces the probability of market exit, but also allows the aided firms to survive longer in the market and to operate more efficiently economically.