25 Years IWH


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 is able to cover a wide range of macroeconomic issues. The research is focused on development, implementation and application of quantitative macroeconomic models and the analysis of the interaction between the financial markets and the real economy.

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Professor Dr Oliver Holtemöller
Professor Dr Oliver Holtemöller
Leiter - Department Macroeconomics
Send Message +49 345 7753-800 Personal page

Refereed Publications


On DSGE Models

Lawrence J. Christiano Martin S. Eichenbaum Mathias Trabandt

in: Journal of Economic Perspectives , forthcoming


Macroeconomic policy questions involve trade-o s between competing forces in the economy. The problem is how to assess the strength of those forces for the particular policy question at hand. DSGE models are the leading framework that macroeconomists have for dealing with this problem in an open and transparent manner. This paper reviews the state of DSGE models before the financial crisis and how DSGE modelers have responded to the crisis and its aftermath. In addition, we discuss the role of DSGE models in the policy process.

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Bottom-up or Direct? Forecasting German GDP in a Data-rich Environment

Katja Heinisch Rolf Scheufele

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.

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Should Forecasters Use Real-time Data to Evaluate Leading Indicator Models for GDP Prediction? German Evidence

Katja Heinisch

in: German Economic Review , forthcoming

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Should We Use Linearized Models To Calculate Fiscal Multipliers?

Jesper Lindé Mathias Trabandt

in: Journal of Applied Econometrics , forthcoming


We calculate the magnitude of the government consumption multiplier in linearized and nonlinear solutions of a New Keynesian model at the zero lower bound. Importantly, the model is amended with real rigidities to simultaneously account for the macroeconomic evidence of a low Phillips curve slope and the microeconomic evidence of frequent price changes. We show that the nonlinear solution is associated with a much smaller multiplier than the linearized solution in long-lived liquidity traps, and pin down the key features in the model which account for the di¤erence. Our results caution against the common practice of using linearized models to calculate scal multipliers in long-lived liquidity traps.

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The European Refugee Crisis and the Natural Rate of Output

Katja Heinisch Klaus Wohlrabe

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.

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Working Papers


Sovereign Stress, Banking Stress, and the Monetary Transmission Mechanism in the Euro Area

Oliver Holtemöller Jan-Christopher Scherer

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 3, 2018


In this paper, we investigate to what extent sovereign stress and banking stress have contributed to the increase in the level and in the heterogeneity of non-financial firms’ financing costs in the Euro area during the European debt crisis and how both have affected the monetary transmission mechanism. Employing a large firm-level data set containing two million observations, we are able to identify the effect of government bond yield spreads (sovereign stress) and the share of non-performing loans (banking stress) on firms‘ financing costs in a panel model by assuming that idiosyncratic shocks to individual firms are uncorrelated with country-specific variables. We find that the two sources of stress have increased firms’ financing costs controlling for country and firm-specific factors. Moreover, we estimate both to have significantly impaired the monetary transmission mechanism.

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The Effects of Fiscal Policy in an Estimated DSGE Model – The Case of the German Stimulus Packages During the Great Recession

Andrej Drygalla Oliver Holtemöller Konstantin Kiesel

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 34, 2017


In this paper, we analyse the effects of the stimulus packages adopted by the German government during the Great Recession. We employ a standard medium-scale dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model extended by non-optimising households and a detailed fiscal sector. In particular, the dynamics of spending and revenue variables are modeled as feedback rules with respect to the cyclical component of output. Based on the estimated rules, fiscal shocks are identified. According to the results, fiscal policy, in particular public consumption, investment, transfers and changes in labour tax rates including social security contributions prevented a sharper and prolonged decline of German output at the beginning of the Great Recession, suggesting a timely response of fiscal policy. The overall effects, however, are small when compared to other domestic and international shocks that contributed to the economic downturn. Our overall findings are not sensitive to the allowance of fiscal foresight.

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Progressive Tax-like Effects of Inflation: Fact or Myth? The U.S. Post-war Experience

Matthias Wieschemeyer Bernd Süssmuth

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 33, 2017


Inflation and earnings growth can push some tax payers into higher brackets in the absence of inflation-indexed schedules. Moreover, inflation may affect the composition of individuals’ income sources. As a result, depending on the relative tax burden of labour and capital, inflation may decrease or increase the difference between before-tax and after-tax income. However, whether some and if so which percentiles of the income distribution net benefit from inflation via taxation is a widely unexplored question. We make use of a novel dataset on U.S. pre-tax and post-tax income distribution series provided by Pike ty et al. (2018) for the years 1962 to 2014 to answer this question. To this end, we estimate local projections to quantify dynamic effects. We find that inflation shocks increase progressivity of taxation not only contemporaneously but also with some repercussion of several years after the shock. While particularly the bottom two quintiles gain in share, it is not the top but the fourth quintile that lastingly loses.

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The Minimum Wage Effects on Skilled Crafts Sector in Saxony-Anhalt

Hans-Ulrich Brautzsch Birgit Schultz

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 31, 2017


This paper examines the effects of the minimum wage introduction in Germany in 2015 on the skilled crafts sector in Saxony-Anhalt. Using novel survey data on the skilled crafts sector in Saxony-Anhalt, we examine three questions: (1) How many employees are affected by the minimum wage introduction in the skilled crafts sector in Saxony- Anhalt? (2) What are the effects of the minimum wage introduction? (3) How have firms reacted to wage increase? We find that about 8% of all employees in the skilled crafts sector in Saxony-Anhalt are directly affected by the minimum wage introduction. A difference-in-difference estimation reveals no significant employment effects of the minimum wage introduction. We test for alternative adjustment strategies and observe a significant increase of output prices.

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Endogenous Institution Formation in Public Good Games: The Effect of Economic Education

Martin Altemeyer-Bartscher Dmitri Bershadskyy Philipp Schreck Florian Timme

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 29, 2017


In a public good experiment, the paper analyses to which extent individuals with economic education behave differently in a second-order dilemma. Second-order dilemmas may arise, when individuals endogenously build up costly institutions that help to overcome a public good problem (first-order dilemma). The specific institution used in the experiment is a communication platform allowing for group communication before the first-order public good game takes place. The experimental results confirm the finding of the literature that economists tend to free ride more intensively in public good games than non-economists. The difference is the strongest in the end-game phase, yielding in the conclusion that the magnitude of the end-game effect depends on the share of economists in the pool of participants. When it comes to the building-up of institutions, the individual efficiency gain of the institution and its inherent cost function constitute the driving forces for the contribution behaviour. Providing an investment friendly environment yields in economists contributing more to the institution than non-economists. Therefore, we make clear that first-order results of a simple public good game cannot be simply applied for second-order incentive problems.

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