Economic Development in Saxony-Anhalt: empirical results and policy recommendations

Though the basic economic problems are still of the same kind all over East Germany, partially considerable regional differences exist in respect to the conditions for further economic development. Therefore, detailed empirical analyses for the individual Länder and their sub-regions are necessary making economic policy recommendations. The following contribution deals with this task taking Saxony-Anhalt as an example. A multitude of indicators is used to bring out the specific strengths and weaknesses of the economy of this state (Land) and its sub-regions. The outstanding strength of Saxony-Anhalt are the high private investment outlays which served to build a modern capital stock during the past ten years. Another fundamental strength of the Land are the universities and public research institutions. Besides these unambiguous strengths some ‘ambivalent’ growth factors exist which are characterized by strengths as well as by weaknesses. Such ‘ambivalent’ growth factors are the infrastructure and the situation of important sectors and branches of economic activity. The weaknesses of Saxony-Anhalt’s economic structure find expression especially in its low supply with human capital and entrepreneurial initiative as well as in the few research and development efforts of its firms. The aforementioned strengths of the Land are reflected insufficiently in its economic output. Consequently some economic policy measures are proposed to bring about an improvement: Amongst other things Saxony-Anhalt should develop a clear idea of its economic development (Leitbild). Such a Leitbild could be related to the Land’s strengths or to the elimination of its major weaknesses. This also would facilitate a concentrated use of the different economic policy instruments. The latter shouldn’t only be concentrated on singular economic growth factors but also spatially, on the economically stronger sub-regions, as this can lead to larger growth effects for the entire Land. The good provision with public research institutions in Saxony-Anhalt should be used to bring about an improvement of the economic structure to a larger extent than until now. This could be done for example by means of a further strengthening of applied research vs. basic research, possibly via orienting the public research more towards the existing branches of economic activity. Finally, the Land should intensify its efforts to increase the entrepreneurial initiative in Saxony-Anhalt, e. g. by means of introducing courses in economics in its schools.

28. February 2001

Authors Franz Barjak Peter Franz Gerhard Heimpold Martin T. W. Rosenfeld

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