REFLEX : Registry of Firms' Life and EXit


Istituto di economia politica

Data: 14 Settembre 2022 / 10:00 - 18:00

Room C1.04, Università della Svizzera italiana, Campus Est Lugano (Viganello)

The NRP-77 Sinergia kick-off meeting on REFLEX – A Data Platform for the Swiss Commercial Registry (1883-present) brings together researchers and practitioners interested in the study of firms and business groups in Switzerland.  

The Data Platform has the objective to recreate the 140-year history of all firms in Switzerland. It will shed lights on the different stages in the life of a company, from its founding to its dissolution (including relocations, changes in legal form, mergers and acquisitions,…), identify all owners and investors, and reconstruct groups of related companies, national or foreign, active in Switzerland. 

The event is part of the Sinergia project “Institutional Foundations of Industrialization, Financialization and Globalization of the Swiss Economy. Evidence from 140 Years of the Commercial Registry” ( and the NRP 77 “Companies and Tax Competition in the Digital Economy” (

The workshop will be held in person.
Registration is compulsory (please contact [email protected])

Location: Room C1.04, Università della Svizzera italiana, Campus Est Lugano (Viganello)

Wednesday, September 14

10.00 Welcome Coffee

10.30 REFLEX: Overview of the Project
Elliott Ash, Marco d’Ambros, Tina Freyburg and Raphaël Parchet

11.00 From a Historical Corpus of Data to Text Snippets: Layout Parser and OCR corrections
Malka Guillot (HEC Liège) and Anna Stünzi (University of St Gallen)

11.15 Network of Firms (2002-2022): Named Entity Recognition and Deep Learning Models
Marco d’Ambros & CodeLounge (USI)

11.45 Discussion
(moderator: Elliott Ash, ETH)

12.15 Lunch& Coffee

14.30 What Drives Corporate Default Rates? Evidence from a Century of Swiss Data
Alberto Plazzi (USI)

14.45 The Geography of Business Groups
Frédéric Robert-Nicoud (University of Geneva)

15.00 Digitalized Directory of Directors for Switzerland 1934-2018: Ongoing and Planned Research Projects
Mark Schelker (University of Fribourg)

15.15 Obelis - The Swiss Elite Observatory
Felix Bühlmann and Stéphanie Ginalski (University of Lausanne)

15.45 Impresso - Media Monitoring of the Past
Simon Clematide (University of Zurich)

16.15 Discussion
(moderator: Tina Freyburg, University of St Gallen)

16.45 Outlook
Raphaël Parchet (USI)

17.00 Networking aperitif

19.30 Dinner (Seven Lugano / The Restaurant)