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Network investment and the threat of regulation: avoiding monopoly or infrastructure extension

In summer 2005, Deutsche Telekom announced its plans for the buildup of a new fiber glass network. At the same time, it formulated the condition that this network was not to be regulated concerning pricing or use by other providers (network access). In order to make this investment possible, in its coalition treaty the big coalition agreed to exclude the new network from the ex-ante regulation and to include this freedom from regulation in the telecommunication law. The question is now how investments can be facilitated and, at the same time, welfare losses through monopoly gains can be avoided. Applying game theory, it can be shown that a regulation authority like the ‘Bundesnetzagentur’, which is responsible for German telecommunication sector, should signal an increasing tolerance for deviations from its calculated and determined regulatory price in the face of increasing uncertainty concerning expected cost and returns. Thus, the threat of regulation alone leads to tolerable prices, without the actual regulation taking place. In the future, the ‘Bundesnetzagentur’ should reduce information asymmetries and the optimal level of tolerance in order to achieve a more precise intervention price and a more effective threat of regulation. The effectiveness of such a threat decreases if the legislation prevents the regulation authority from using this instrument by law. Against this background, the recent Federal Government resolution from March 17th 2006 noveling the telecommunication law heads for the economically right direction but it has to prove its incentive compatibility in the daily legal practice.

30. May 2006

Authors Christian Growitsch Niels Krap

Also in this issue

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Recent trends: IWH business cycle barometer: East German economy does a weak start

Udo Ludwig

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 5, 2006

Abstract

Die ostdeutsche Wirtschaft ist von einem niedrigen Niveau aus in das neue Jahr gestartet. Das Schlußquartal verlief äußerst schwach, obwohl das Verarbeitende Gewerbe und selbst das Baugewerbe – sonst mitverantwortlich für Rückschläge – deutlich zulegten. Die negativen Wachstumsbeiträge kamen diesmal aus dem Dienstleistungssektor, insbesondere von Handel, Gastgewerbe und Verkehr, vor allem aber vom öffentlichen Bereich. In den ersten Monaten des neuen Jahres wurden diese Rückgänge gestoppt. Allerdings rutschte das Baugewerbe – nicht zuletzt wegen der Unbilden des verhältnismäßig lang anhaltenden Winterwetters – deutlich ins Minus. Das Verarbeitende Gewerbe zog dagegen weiter kräftig durch.

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Editorial

Udo Ludwig

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 5, 2006

Abstract

Nun hat sie der Bundestag mit großer Mehrheit doch beschlossen: die größte Steuererhöhung seit dem Bestehen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Im Jahr 2007 sollen mit der Anhebung des Regelsatzes der Mehrwertsteuer 23 Milliarden Euro zusätzlich in die öffentlichen Kassen fließen. Die zulässige Obergrenze der Defizitquote von 3% wird damit deutlich unterboten werden. Soweit so gut?

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Fiscal economy potentials of a county structure reform in Saxony-Anhalt

Simone Scharfe

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 5, 2006

Abstract

In view of the foreseeable demographic and finance-political developments the public house holds of Eastern Germany are under considerable strain to consolidate. This applies particularly to Saxony-Anhalt and there especially to local authorities. In 2003 the municipal expenses level (running material expenses and personnel expenses) of counties and communities in Saxony-Anhalt amounted 1,015 Euro per inhabitant and was clearly higher than the other East German states. Beyond the means of economisation through the efficient application of public funds, considerations are given to the potentials of country structure reforms. In the last legislative period, the CDU/FDP government already established the amalgamation of 24 counties to eleven new ones with the bill of 11.11.2005. The SPD - as an oppositional party at that time - submitted a proposal for an even further-reaching structural change with a concentration to five counties. This article comprises an estimation of the fiscal economisation potentials of both versions. In the first step, the (long term accessible) county expense levels of Saxony-Anhalt within the scope of the existing structure of a county is determined with the help of a Benchmarkanalysis. These results are then compared with expected expense levels of a reformed county structure which leads to the saving effect of the respective county reform. In the result of the analysis it appears that the suggestion of the SPD to the county structure reform allows to expect clearly higher saving effects than the suggestion of the former CDU/FDP government, a strong meaning of the already enforced community administrative reform is imputable.

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IWH construction survey April 2006

Brigitte Loose

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 5, 2006

Abstract

Das Geschäftsklima im ostdeutschen Baugewerbe hat sich laut IWH-Umfrage unter mehr als 300 Unternehmen im April weiter verbessert. Die Geschäftslage wie auch die Geschäftsaussichten haben sich nicht zuletzt witterungsbedingt gegenüber dem Jahresanfang deutlich aufgehellt. Inzwischen gehen 60% der befragten Unternehmen von einer guten oder eher guten Geschäftslage aus, bei den Aussichten bis zum Herbst trifft dies sogar für knapp 69% der Unternehmen zu. Die Urteile liegen über den Werten aus den vergangenen zehn Jahren. Auch bei Ausschaltung der Saisoneinflüsse weisen die Meldungen auf eine klare Aufwärtsbewegung des Geschäftsklimas insgesamt hin. Die Klimaverbesserung kommt zu etwa gleichen Teilen aus den Einschätzungen zur Lage und zu den Aussichten.

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Longterm development of return on assets – an empirical panel data analysis

Olaf Neubert

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 5, 2006

Abstract

One of the basic propositions of economic theory is the fact that competition does not allow permanent very high or very low returns. But how can the permanent surplus gain of a monopolist be distinguished from innovation gains? In which markets is a regulatory interference necessary? Contrary to the static analysis, the concept of dynamic competition explicitly considers the temporal development of return and gain. An entrepreneur can achieve an advantage over the competitors through new products or new production processes. Hence arising innovation gains function as incentives for imitators to join the development which in turn leads to a reduction of the surplus gains. Thus, these gains are not contradictory to an effective competition. On the basis of annual balance sheets of German firms, this article analyses the temporal development of returns on assets. It is to evaluate whether the adaptation process assumed by Schumpeter that matches very high and very low gains with a longterm level can be confirmed, and how fast this process works. The average industry returns of the manufacturing industry show a convergence to a longterm level. During this process, an average of 40% of the deviation from the longterm level are melted every year. However, the analysis of company returns shows longterm differences. The adaptation rate of companies, 50%, is significantly higher compared to the industry value. The analysis of the connection between the adaptation rate and the longterm return level of companies proves that companies which face above-average competition strength obtain a higher longterm return level than other companies. When firms operate within markets with high stress of competition they do not achieve below-average returns but rather significantly above-average returns in the long term.

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