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The OECD ORBIS Database: Responding to the Need for Firm-Level Micro-Data in the OECD


  • Samuel Pinto Ribeiro


  • Stefano Menghinello

    (National Statistical Institute)

  • Koen De Backer



Firm-level micro-data have become increasingly important in OECD activities not only for econometric analysis that captures heterogeneity across enterprises but also in order to conduct different and more detailed types of data aggregation (e.g. by geographical unit, firm size, industry). This paper describes the development of the OECD ORBIS micro database. This database includes more than 200 variables providing financial and ownership information for over 44 million companies across the world. The paper provides an overview of the nature of these data, and of the advantages and disadvantages of such administrative micro-data for research. It describes the data included in the OECD ORBIS database and the cleaning procedures that have been undertaken to identify suspicious values. The paper then presents some preliminary aggregate results showing the potential of the database. Finally, it identifies some structural biases in the database and the steps that should be taken to correct them. L’accès aux micro-données d’entreprises est devenu très important dans le cadre des activités de l’OCDE non seulement pour les analyses économiques qui mettent en évidence l’hétérogénéité des entreprises mais aussi dans le cadre d’études conduisant à des agrégations plus détaillées (par zone géographique, taille d’entreprise ou industrie). Ce document décrit le développement de la base ORBIS au sein de l’OCDE. Cette base de données comporte plus de 200 variables fournissant des informations sur l’actionnariat et les comptes financiers de plus de 44 millions d’entreprises à travers le monde. Ce document fourni une vue d’ensemble sur la nature des données ainsi que les avantages et les inconvénients de telles données pour la recherche. Il décrit les données incluses dans la base OCDE ORBIS et les procédures de nettoyage qui ont été mises en place pour identifier les valeurs aberrantes. De plus, ce document présente les résultats d’une agrégation préliminaire mettant en évidence le potentiel de la base de données. Finalement, il montre certaines erreurs systématiques nécessitant une amélioration de la représentativité des données.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel Pinto Ribeiro & Stefano Menghinello & Koen De Backer, 2010. "The OECD ORBIS Database: Responding to the Need for Firm-Level Micro-Data in the OECD," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2010/1, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:stdaaa:2010/1-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Miguel García-Posada & Juan Mora-Sanguinetti, 2014. "Are there alternatives to bankruptcy? A study of small business distress in Spain," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 287-332, August.
    2. Driffield Nigel & Temouri Yama, 2014. "Inward Investment and the Drivers of Post Recession Recovery in Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 234(6), pages 775-799, December.
    3. Contractor, Farok & Yang, Yong & Gaur, Ajai S., 2016. "Firm-specific intangible assets and subsidiary profitability: The moderating role of distance, ownership strategy and subsidiary experience," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 950-964.
    4. Pedro S. Martins & Yong Yang, 2015. "Globalized Labour Markets? International Rent Sharing Across 47 Countries," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 53(4), pages 664-691, December.
    5. Yang, Yong & Mallick, Sushanta, 2014. "Explaining cross-country differences in exporting performance: The role of country-level macroeconomic environment," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 246-259.
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    7. Peter N. Gal & Alexander Hijzen, 2016. "The Short-Term Impact of Product Market Reforms; A cross-country firm-level analysis," IMF Working Papers 16/116, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Lorendana Fattorini & Mahdi Ghodsi & Armando Rungi, 2018. "Cohesion Policy Meets Heterogeneous Firms," Working Papers 02/2018, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, revised Feb 2018.
    9. Driffield, Nigel & Love, James H. & Yang, Yong, 2016. "Reverse international knowledge transfer in the MNE: (Where) does affiliate performance boost parent performance?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 491-506.
    10. Sebastian Beer & Jan Loeprick, 2015. "Profit shifting: drivers of transfer (mis)pricing and the potential of countermeasures," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(3), pages 426-451, June.
    11. Smeets, Roger & de Vaal, Albert, 2016. "Intellectual Property Rights and the productivity effects of MNE affiliates on host-country firms," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 419-434.

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