Applied Empirical Research: Methods and Practical Implementation

TAX 620 for Master students (Dieser Kurs wird nur in Englisch angeboten)

Lecturers Prof. Dr. Philipp Dörrenberg,
Prof. Dr. Johannes Voget
Frequency Fall semester
Courses Lecture and Exercises
Language English
Form of Assessment Presentation of Data Set (20%)
Presentation of Empirical Project (40%)
Report about Empirical Project (40%)
Richard Winter, M.Sc.



For further information please contact Richard Winter.

Course Details

Students are provided an overview of the most important methods and approaches for applied empirical research and gain practical experience in conducting an empirical analysis. One part of the course teaches the most important methods to estimate causal effects. These include, but are not restricted to, randomized experiments, linear regression, fixed effects estimators, difference(s)-in-difference(s), instrumental variables and regression discontinuity design. The focus is on understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the available econometric methods and less on a highly technical presentation. Illustrative examples will always be from the field of taxation. The other part of the course focuses on hands-on empirical applications and students learn how to conduct their own empirical analysis. For this purpose, students are introduced to the usage of a statistical software package (Stata) and to the access and analysis of large data sets (in particular firm databases sets such as Amadeus or Compustat). This part of the lecture will also use examples from research in the field of taxation. To receive a grade, students are required to write a short term-paper which presents the results from their independently conducted empirical analysis (either an own research idea or a replication) and/or they are asked to present the results from their own empirical analysis inclass.

    Course Structure

  • Learning Outcomes

    • Overview of most important methods and approaches for applied empirical research.
    • Hands-on practice of empirical analysis using statistical software.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Causality
    2. Randomized Experiments
    3. Regression and Fixed Effects
    4. Differences in Differences
    5. Regression Discontinuity Design
    6. Current Topics in Taxation Research and Overview of Available Data
    7. Instrumental Variables
    8. Bunching
    9. How to Set Up a Research Project



    1. Do-files
    2. Read and Examine Data
    3. Create Sample for Analysis
    4. Simple Regression Analysis and Tests
    5. Graphs and Visualizing
    6. Programming (globals/locals/loops)
  • Prerequisites

    Formal: None

    Recommended: Introductory classes on statistics and/or econometrics at Bachelor level.


Guest Lecture

Mark Dinko Orlic, Partner at PWC: “Evolution of the Tax Advisor and Analytics in Practice”

Oct 21., 01.45-03.15 p.m.

Mark will talk about tax planning and tax consultancy in a big-4 accounting company. The lecture provides insights on the latest developments in tax advisory work in practice. Mark will particularly focus on the role of empirical methods, analytics and data for tax consultancy. Please note that the guest lecture does not replace the regular class on Oct. 21 at 12.00.