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East German Innovation System attractive for Foreign Investors

Foreign direct investment (FDI) plays an important role in the catching-up process of East Germany due to direct employment- and demand related effects. However, this article takes a technological perspective on FDI in East Germany. It considers technological activities of foreign investors (R&D and innovation) and asks to what extent these are integrated into the East German innovation system. In other words, do foreign investors interact technologically with domestic enterprises and scientific institutions? So far, there seems to be a striking absence of empirical evidence on this issue. The basis for our analysis is recent data from a representative survey of foreign direct investors in East German manufacturing completed in 2007. The findings show that on average foreign investors are more R&D and innovation intensive compared to the total of East German manufacturing. In addition, their technological activities are by no means isolated from the East German innovation system. Foreign subsidiaries seem to benefit from East German customers, suppliers and especially scientific institutions with regard to locally conducted R&D and innovation. Contrary to existing assumptions the East German innovation system seems to be particularly attractive for the most technologically active foreign subsidiaries. This could constitute a major locational advantage for FDI in East Germany over Central and East Europe. However, the technologically active foreign investors believe that only East German suppliers are able to benefit from their technological cooperation. The same cannot be said about East German customers or competitors. Thus, the potential for technological externalities from FDI in East Germany seems still to be limited.

23. January 2008

Authors Jutta Günther Björn Jindra Johannes Stephan

Also in this issue

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Aktuelle Trends: Gute Gründe für ausländische Direktinvestitionen in Ostdeutschland

Jutta Günther Björn Jindra Johannes Stephan

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 1, 2008

Abstract

Das IWH hat eine aktuelle Befragung ausländischer Investoren im Verarbeitenden Gewerbe in den Neuen Bundesländern (einschließlich Berlin) durchgeführt. Die antwortenden Unternehmen gaben dabei auch die relative Bedeutung verschiedener Investitionsmotive der jeweiligen ausländischen Eigentümer zum Zeitpunkt der Neugründung eines Tochterunternehmens bzw. der Beteiligung an einem bereits existierenden Unternehmen an.

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Editorial

Udo Ludwig

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 1, 2008

Abstract

Gegen den Rat führender deutscher Wirtschaftsforschungsinstitute setzt die Bundesregierung die Einführung branchenspezifischer Mindestlöhne fort. Die Realisierung ihres eigentlichen Ziels „Politik für mehr Arbeit in Deutschland“ gerät damit zunehmend in Gefahr. So verständlich der Wunsch ist, Erwerbsarbeit als Grundlage für den Lebensunterhalt zu bewahren, so gilt genauso, daß auch Mindestlöhne am Markt verdient werden müssen. Wenn sich die Politik für Mindestlöhne entschieden hat, bleibt die Findung der rechten Höhe das Problem. Liegen sie über dem Grenzprodukt der Arbeit, steigen die Kosten, und das drückt auf die Gewinne. Gelingt es den Unternehmen, die Kostensteigerung über die Preise weiterzureichen, dann zahlen alle Verbraucher mit dem Verlust an Realeinkommen. Der Druck auf die Gewinne kann aber auch unmittelbar den Abbau der unrentabel gewordenen Arbeitsplätze nach sich ziehen. Dann steigt die Arbeitslosigkeit sofort.

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IWH-Bauumfrage im Dezember 2007: Geschäftsklima deutlich verschlechtert

Brigitte Loose

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 1, 2008

Abstract

Das Geschäftsklima im ostdeutschen Baugewerbe hat sich im Dezember deutlich verschlechtert. Sowohl die Geschäftslage als auch die Geschäftaussichten wurden von den knapp 300 befragten Bauunternehmen erheblich zurückhaltender beurteilt als noch vor einem Jahr. Für etwa ein Drittel der Unternehmen liefen die Baugeschäfte im Dezember „schlecht“ oder „eher schlecht“. Derartige Urteile gab im Vorjahreszeitraum nur etwa ein Fünftel der Unternehmen ab. Hinsichtlich der Geschäftsaussichten bis zum Frühsommer sind sogar drei von fünf Unternehmen skeptisch. Im Vorjahr betraf dies nur etwa die Hälfte. Die Eintrübung des Geschäftsklimas zieht sich durch alle Bausparten.

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Business cycle forecast 2008: German upswing takes a break

Arbeitskreis Konjunktur

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 1, 2008

Abstract

Economic growth in the industrial countries will be much more muted in 2008 than in the past year. One cause is the prolonged oil price hike during 2007. The second and more important cause is the intensification of tensions on world financial markets. Due to problems in the financial sector, credit expansion will slow next year in the euro area as well as in the US. This will dampen demand in the real economy. A significant downswing in the industrial countries, however, is not the most likely scenario: in the US, expansive economic policy and a weak dollar that gives production in the US a competitive edge will prevent the economy from sliding into recession. In the euro area, high profitability of firms and structural improvements in the working of labour markets will help the economy cope with the stronger euro and with higher costs of external financing due to the turmoil in the financial sector. In Germany, the upswing has still not reached the demand of private households. The main reason is that real wages were stagnating in 2007 and will not rise by much in 2008, since inflation has accelerated considerably at the end of last year. In addition, weaker dynamics of external demand will dampen export growth. This and the end of tax incentives for investment at the end of 2007 will dampen investment activity. All in all, the economy will slow down in the first half of 2008. However, chances are good that the upswing will only have taken a break: when the dampening external shocks have ceased, the driving powers of the upswing will prevail; dynamic employment growth is a reflection of the strong confidence of firms. A major risk for employment and for the German economy in general is, however, the possibility that the policy concerning the labour markets changes course; bad omens are the recent the introduction of minimum wages for postal services and the announced extension of unemployment benefits for persons older than 50.

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Is a Centralisation of Local Governmental Structures an Appropriate Way to Ensure an Efficient Provision of Local Public Services? Findings from Case Studies in the State of Saxony-Anhalt

Gerhard Heimpold Martin T. W. Rosenfeld

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 1, 2008

Abstract

Choosing the appropriate organisational model for local government (i. e. centralised vs. federal model) forms an essential challenge for local communities. Against the background of Fiscal Federalism, a trade-off between the two models mentioned can be expected: Though the centralised model may bring up economies of scale and scope, the federal form of local government may have advantages, too, for instance regarding the extent of civil participation. The article has the intention to answer the question how the degree of centralisation/decentralisation of local governmental organisation affects the provision of services of public interest. The article is based on case studies conducted in ten municipalities located in the State of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. The government of Saxony-Anhalt intends to implement a reform project targeted at the modernisation of local governmental organisation. The basic reform idea is to transform the local governmental structures from a situation (at the beginning of 2008) where a co-existence of centralised and federally organised municipalities is given towards a future situation where the centralised model should be dominating. In line with the expectation derived from theory, the empirical findings do not draw a picture, which is unequivocally in favour either of the centralised or of the federal model. However, the reform of modernisation of local governmental organisation should remain on the agenda, especially due to a shrinking population in the rural parts of Saxony-Anhalt. This could support the state government’s plans of a more centralized organisation of local government. But this would mean to give up the advantages of the existing federal model of local government. Therefore, in addition to the centralised model favoured by the state government, politicians in Saxony-Anhalt should look for the possibility of an alternative “third” model, which tries to combine the advantages of economies of scale with a greater degree of civil participation.

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