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Worldscope meets Compustat: A Comparison of Financial Databases

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  • Christian Weiner
  • Niels Ulbricht

Abstract

With this study we are the first to systematically compare today’s two major counterparts as a source of accounting and financial data for researchers: Compustat North America by Standard & Poor’s and Worldscope by Thomson Financial. This investigation is conducted for U.S. and partly Canadian data over an extensive period from 1985 to 2003. We examine more than 650 data items available in both databases and address the question of whether or not the decision for one or the other source may have an impact on the outcome of research projects. It is probably commonly assumed that this impact is minor, but it also leaves room to question certain results. We show that the use of both databases should lead to comparable results, but also find that if, e.g. a size bias, is not treated with care the quality of results may differ considerable. Furthermore after 1998 the number of firms covered by Worldscope exceeds the one covered by Compustat by about one fourth.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Weiner & Niels Ulbricht, 2005. "Worldscope meets Compustat: A Comparison of Financial Databases," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2005-064, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2005-064
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    File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2005-064.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fan, Joseph P H & Lang, Larry H P, 2000. "The Measurement of Relatedness: An Application to Corporate Diversification," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(4), pages 629-660, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nigel Driffield & Sarmistha Pal, 2010. "Evolution of capital structure in east Asia-corporate inertia or endeavours?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 173(1), pages 1-29.
    2. Hansen, Erwin & Wagner, Rodrigo, 2017. "Stockpiling cash when it takes time to build: Exploring price differentials in a commodity boom," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 197-212.
    3. Boyd, John H. & Jalal, Abu M., 2012. "A new measure of financial development: Theory leads measurement," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 341-357.
    4. Weiß, Gregor N.F. & Mühlnickel, Janina, 2014. "Why do some insurers become systemically relevant?," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 95-117.
    5. Schmidt, Peter S. & Schrimpf, Andreas & von Arx, Urs & Wagner, Alexander F & Ziegler, Andreas, 2015. "Size and Momentum Profitability in International Stock Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 10804, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Walkshäusl, Christian & Lobe, Sebastian, 2010. "Fundamental indexing around the world," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 117-127, August.
    7. Rudolph, Christin & Schwetzler, Bernhard, 2014. "Mountain or molehill? Downward biases in the conglomerate discount measure," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 420-431.
    8. Graham Partington, 2009. ""Discussion of" An International Analysis of Dividend Payment Behavior," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3-4), pages 523-529.
    9. Yue Cheng & Christopher J. Green, 2008. "Taxes And Capital Structure: A Study Of European Companies," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 76(S1), pages 85-115, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Worldscope; Compustat; financial databases;

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G29 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Other
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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