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Keywords:

  • Database comparability;
  • International empirical research

Data availability is one of the traditional obstacles confronting researchers carrying out international empirical studies in accounting. In recent years several databases have claimed to offer comprehensive coverage of accounting and financial data of firms worldwide. We analyse whether the choice of database has an effect on the results of empirical studies. We find that the results of a simple empirical adaptation of the Ohlson (1995) model for fourteen member states of the European Union change significantly depending on the database chosen (Datastream, Global Vantage, Company Analysis, Worldscope, Thomson Financial, Financials and BvD Osiris). These differences are mainly attributable to differences in the samples across databases. When we match observations across all databases the differences persist but are much less pronounced. Our main conclusion is that database choice matters, as it leads to different results when the same research design is used.