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Improvements and Future Challenges for the Research Infrastructure in Public Finance


Thiess Buettner

The paper briefly surveys available data sources and discusses future developments relevant for empirical public finance in Germany. It starts from the notion that public finance deals with decisions of various agents, not only governments, but also private households and firms. Therefore, empirical research needs different types of data. Government decisions are to some extent captured in terms of the budgetary statistics, even though these statistics have shortcomings with regard to the quality of public service provisions and the revenue instruments. To study the decisions of the other agents individual level data is required. While some progress has been made, recently, the combination of various datasets at the individual level is a key priority.

Keywords: Empirical Research; Public Finance; Budgetary Statistics; Revenue Statistics; Micro-level Data; Taxpayer Data