The Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim is a non-profit and independent institute with the legal form of a limited liability company (GmbH). Founded in 1990 on the basis of a public-private initiative in the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg in co-operation with the University of Mannheim, ZEW is one of Germany's leading economic research institutes, and enjoys a strong reputation throughout Europe.
ZEW's guiding mission is to study the "optimal performance of markets and institutions in Europe". To this end, ZEW applies a plurality of methodologies, with a clear focus on microeconomic and microeconometric research. The institute co-operates closely with other scientific disciplines to address research questions. In this context, the research institute distinguishes itself, inter alia, in the analysis of internationally comparative questions in the European context and in the creation of data bases which are eminently important as a basis for scientific research. In addition, ZEW provides external persons and bodies with excerpts of selected data stocks for the purpose of scientific research.
Evaluations in regular intervals ensure the quality of the work performed in the research units and its orientation towards the institute's research programme. Evaluations are carried out by the Scientific Advisory Council of ZEW, which is composed of renowned German and foreign scientists as well as of executives from the economy and public administration.
ZEW is funded in part by the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. Since 2005, the institute has also received basic funding from a partnership between the state and federal governments. 50 percent of the Institute's financial resources are obtained from research projects for third parties, including the European Commission, ministries and institutions of the federal and state governments, as well as companies, associations, and local authorities.
ZEW's work is conceptually and financially supported by the ZEW Sponsors' Association for Science and Practice (Registered Society), which was founded in 1993. The firms belonging to this organisation facilitate a constant exchange between the domains of research and practice.
ZEW's research findings are disseminated in professional circles and corporate training seminars, as well as through studies, publication series, and the media. ZEW publishes two monograph series – ZEW Economic Studies and ZEW Wirtschaftsanalysen – and magazines like the ZEWnews, that are nationally and internationally distributed.