The department of macroeconomics analyses economic fluctuations of important economic indicators as GDP, employment, and interest rates in the short and medium horizon, the impact of economic policy on these, and the institutional framework that determines long term growth and the business cycle. Founded on this research, the department offers policy advice.
Employing 20 experts, the department covers a wide range of macroeconomic issues. The research focuses on development, implementation and application of quantitative macroeconomic models and the analysis of the interaction between the financial markets and the real economy.
Bottom-up or Direct? Forecasting German GDP in a Data-rich Environment
in: Empirical Economics , forthcoming
In this paper, we investigate whether there are benefits in disaggregating GDP into its components when nowcasting GDP. To answer this question, we conduct a realistic out-of-sample experiment that deals with the most prominent problems in short-term forecasting: mixed frequencies, ragged-edge data, asynchronous data releases and a large set of potential information. We compare a direct leading indicator-based GDP forecast with two bottom-up procedures—that is, forecasting GDP components from the production side or from the demand side. Generally, we find that the direct forecast performs relatively well. Among the disaggregated procedures, the production side seems to be better suited than the demand side to form a disaggregated GDP nowcast.
The European Refugee Crisis and the Natural Rate of Output
in: Applied Economics Letters , No. 16, 2017
The European Commission follows a harmonized approach for calculating structural (potential) output for EU member states that takes into account labour as an important ingredient. This article shows how the recent huge migrants’ inflow to Europe affects trend output. Due to the fact that the immigrants immediately increase the working population but effectively do not enter the labour market, we illustrate that the potential output is potentially upward biased without any corrections. Taking Germany as an example, we find that the average medium-term potential growth rate is lower if the migration flow is modelled adequately compared to results based on the unadjusted European Commission procedure.
Multidimensional Well-being and Regional Disparities in Europe
in: Journal of Common Market Studies , No. 5, 2017
Using data from the OECD Regional Well-Being Index – a set of quality-of-life indicators measured at the sub-national level – we construct a set of composite well-being indices. We analyze the extent to which the choice of five alternative aggregation methods affects the well-being ranking of regions. We find that regional inequality in these composite measures is lower than regional inequality in real GDP per capita. For most aggregation methods, the rank correlation across regions appears to be quite high. It is also shown that using alternative indices instead of GDP per capita would only have a small effect on the set of regions eligible for aid from EU Structural Funds. The exception appears to be an aggregation based on how individual dimensions relate to average life satisfaction across regions, which would substantially change both the ranking of regions and which regions would be eligible for EU funds.
Mapping Potentials for Input-Output Based Innovation Flows in Industrial Clusters – An Application to Germany
in: Economic Systems Research , No. 4, 2016
Our paper pursues two aims: first, it presents an approach based on input–output innovation flow matrices to study intersectoral innovation flows within industrial clusters. Second, we apply this approach to the identification of structural weaknesses in East Germany relative to the western part of the country. The case of East Germany forms an interesting subject because while its convergence process after unification began promisingly in the first half of the 1990s, convergence has since slowed down. The existing gap can now be traced mainly to structural weaknesses in the East German economy, such as the absence of strong industrial cluster structures. With this in mind, we investigate whether East Germany does in fact reveal the abovementioned structural weaknesses. Does East Germany possess fewer industrial clusters? Are they less connected? Does East Germany lack specific clusters that are also important for the non-clustered part of the economy?
Alternatives to GDP - Measuring the Impact of Natural Disasters using Panel Data
in: Journal of Economic and Social Measurement , No. 3, 2016
A frequent criticism of GDP states that events that obviously reduce welfare of people can nevertheless increase GDP per capita. We use data of natural disasters as quasi experiments to examine whether alternatives to GDP (Human Development Index, Progress Index, Index of Economic Well-Being and a Happiness Index) lead to more plausible responses to disasters. Applying a Differences-in-Differences approach and estimates from various panels of countries we find no noteworthy differences between the response of real GDP per capita and the responses of suggested alternative welfare measures to a natural disaster except for the Human Development Index.
U.S. Monetary-Fiscal Regime Changes in the Presence of Endogenous Feedback in Policy Rules
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 15, 2017
We investigate U.S. monetary and fiscal policy regime interactions in a model, where regimes are determined by latent autoregressive policy factors with endogenous feedback. Policy regimes interact strongly: Shocks that switch one policy from active to passive tend to induce the other policy to switch from passive to active, consistently with existence of a unique equilibrium, though both policies are active and government debt grows rapidly in some periods. We observe relatively strong interactions between monetary and fiscal policy regimes after the recent financial crisis. Finally, latent policy regime factors exhibit patterns of correlation with macroeconomic time series, suggesting that policy regime change is endogenous.
Monetary Policy in an Oil-dependent Economy in the Presence of Multiple Shocks
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 14, 2017
Russian monetary policy has been challenged by large and continuous private capital outflows and a sharp drop in oil prices during 2014, with both ongoings having put a significant depreciation pressure on the ruble and having led the central bank to eventually give up its exchange rate management strategy. Against this background, this paper estimates a small open economy model for Russia, featuring an oil price sector and extended by a specification of the foreign exchange market to correctly account for systematic central bank interventions. We find that shocks to the oil price and private capital flows substantially affect domestic variables such as inflation, output and the exchange rate. Simulations of the model for the estimated actual strategy and five alternative regimes suggest that the vulnerability of the Russian economy to external shocks can substantially be lowered by adopting some form of an inflation targeting strategy. Foreign exchange intervention-based policy strategies to target the nominal exchange rate or the ruble price of oil, on the other hand, prove inferior to the policy in place.
Inflation Dynamics During the Financial Crisis in Europe: Cross-sectional Identification of Long-run Inflation Expectations
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 10, 2017
We investigate drivers of Euro area inflation dynamics using a panel of regional Phillips curves and identify long-run inflation expectations by exploiting the crosssectional dimension of the data. Our approach simultaneously allows for the inclusion of country-specific inflation and unemployment-gaps, as well as time-varying parameters. Our preferred panel specification outperforms various aggregate, uni- and multivariate unobserved component models in terms of forecast accuracy. We find that declining long-run trend inflation expectations and rising inflation persistence indicate an altered risk of inflation expectations de-anchoring. Lower trend inflation, and persistently negative unemployment-gaps, a slightly increasing Phillips curve slope and the downward pressure of low oil prices mainly explain the low inflation rate during the recent years.
Same, but Different: Testing Monetary Policy Shock Measures
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 9, 2017
In this study, we test whether three popular measures for monetary policy, that is, Romer and Romer (2004), Barakchian and Crowe (2013), and Gertler and Karadi (2015), constitute suitable proxy variables for monetary policy shocks. To this end, we employ different test statistics used in the literature to detect weak proxy variables. We find that the measure derived by Gertler and Karadi (2015) is the most suitable in this regard.
Optimizing Policymakers' Loss Functions in Crisis Prediction: Before, Within or After?
in: ECB Working Paper Series , No. 2025, 2017
Early-warning models most commonly optimize signaling thresholds on crisis probabilities. The expost threshold optimization is based upon a loss function accounting for preferences between forecast errors, but comes with two crucial drawbacks: unstable thresholds in recursive estimations and an in-sample overfit at the expense of out-of-sample performance. We propose two alternatives for threshold setting: (i) including preferences in the estimation itself and (ii) setting thresholds ex-ante according to preferences only. Given probabilistic model output, it is intuitive that a decision rule is independent of the data or model specification, as thresholds on probabilities represent a willingness to issue a false alarm vis-à-vis missing a crisis. We provide simulated and real-world evidence that this simplification results in stable thresholds and improves out-of-sample performance. Our solution is not restricted to binary-choice models, but directly transferable to the signaling approach and all probabilistic early-warning models.