Centre for European Economic Research

What Is the Centre for European Economic Research?

The Centre for European Economic Research is a nonprofit economic research institution based in Mannheim, Germany.

The organization provides advice on economic issues and policy to its clients, with its work focused primarily on European economies.

Key Takeaways

  • The Centre for European Economic Research, or ZEW (Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung), is an economic think-tank based in Mannheim, Germany.
  • The Centre for European Economic Research was founded in 1990 and is a limited liability company (LLC).
  • ZEW economists study a wide range of applied economic topics, including the production of the ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment.
  • ZEW’s research and indicators are well known in Germany and beyond as tools to help businesses, investors, and policymakers navigate the economy. 

Understanding the Centre for European Economic Research

The Centre for European Economic Research was founded in 1990 and its name in German is Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung (ZEW). It is a limited liability company (LLC).

ZEW is funded by the state of Baden-Württemberg and the German government as well as through research projects. It receives about 40% of its funding from federal and state government institutions, with the rest of its funding coming from research projects funded by outside institutions, including the European Commission, private companies, and local authorities.

Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research employs a staff of 190, of which 2/3 are scientists. The interdisciplinary approach of the ZEW is reflected in the collaboration of economists and graduates in business management, economic engineers, and IT specialists, as well as specialists from other fields, like law and natural science.

According to its website, ZEW's main objective is to study the "optimal performance of markets and institutions in Europe," and in addition to research, the organization also produces a book series and some magazines.

ZEW researchers and analysts study economic topics ranging from labor markets to economic development to the political economy of the EU, with an emphasis on applied research. Though most of its research focuses on microeconomics and microeconometric studies, ZEW is well-known for its macroeconomic ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment, an economic indicator that is created as a result of the ZEW Financial Markets Survey, which is a monthly survey of economists and experts about the financial market and macroeconomic trends.

The ZEW Economic Sentiment Indicator

ZEW has conducted the ZEW Financial Markets Survey since 1991. This survey contains analysis from hundreds of economists and analysts, and the ZEW Economic Sentiment, which is published as a result of findings from this survey, is a leading indicator for Germany's economy.

Investors can use sentiment indicators, such as the ZEW Economic Sentiment Indicator, to help them understand the stock market's mood. A positive index value indicates optimism, whereas a negative index value indicates pessimism. In general, optimistic sentiment is believed to signal strong economic conditions for Germany going forward. As such, the Economic Sentiment Indicator is often used by foreign currency traders and others to base expectations for exchange rates, DAX performance, and other variables. 

To conduct the survey, every month, ZEW gathers insights and sentiments from about 300 economists and analysts from banks, insurance companies, and financial departments of selected corporations. They are asked to provide their six-month expectations for the economy, specifically about inflation rates, oil prices, interest rates, stock markets, and exchange rates.

The survey includes the markets and economic futures of a group of countries including Germany, the United States, Great Britain, Japan, France, and Italy. According to the ZEW website, the survey has also collected information about Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Croatia since 1999.

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  1. Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research. "Contact."

  2. Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research. "About ZEW."

  3. Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research. "Clients and Funding Institutions."

  4. Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research. "ZEW Staff."

  5. Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research. "ZEW Financial Market Survey & ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment."

  6. Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research. "Trend Chart on Innovation in Europe."

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