With their new panel data sets created by combining micro data from various official statistics the research data centres of the German Statistical offices have generated a data treasure waiting for exploration by the scientific community. In the course of the project AFiD (Official Firm Data for Germany) ten longitudinal data sets were made ready to use for research purposes either on unit- or enterprise level by the beginning of the year 2010. The developed data sets cover firms and enterprises of nearly all economic sectors, amongst them agriculture, manufacturing, services and other economic activities. Depending on the observed branch and unit level, the panel data can be further supplemented by several modules covering information about environmental issues, earnings and use of energy as well as water supply.
It's a common agreement that to understand and direct economic structures and developments it's important to base political decisions on profound knowledge about regional, economic and time-related contexts. But have the new options to analyse firms and enterprises on a micro level really expanded the knowledge about firms competitiveness and entrepreneurship? To assess the benefits of the newly created data sets the German Statistical offices held a workshop for the scientific community already using these new longitudinal data and asked to share their results.
The paper focuses on the research potential of the new AFiD data sets, giving examples for possible business-related analyses over time and over several branches. It will point out, where the demands of the scientific community have been met and which options are still left to enlarge the information potential of micro data for scientific research projects even more.
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Keywords: Microdata; Research Data Centre; Firm Data; Panel Data
Biography: Anja Malchin obtained her diploma in economic and social sciences in the year 2005. As a research associate she works for more than five years in the Research Data Centre of the Statistical Offices of the German Länder in the State Statistical Institute Berlin-Brandenburg. The research data centre provides access to selected microdata of official statistics for scientific purposes.