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Size is not everything – The efficiency of municipal service provision in Saxony-Anhalt

The proponents of municipal area reforms – e.g. the recently completed reform in Saxony-Anhalt – expect that municipal amalgamations or centralized organizational forms save costs or increase the efficiency of local public service provision. This article examines the potential efficiency deficits of Saxony-Anhalt´s fragmented municipal structures on the eve of the crucial phase of the municipal reform. The results of a two-step DEA bootstrap procedure show that decentralized municipalities (“Verwaltungsgemeinschaften”) do not have to be significantly less efficient than centralized municipalities (“Einheitsgemeinden”). Furthermore, the results of the scale efficiency analysis suggest that the majority of Saxony-Anhalt´s communities already had an approximately efficient “firm size” – if the aggregated level of the municipal associations is examined. The relationship between scale efficiency and population is U-shaped. On the one hand, the results do not support the preservation of micro-municipalities or the formation of municipal associations with more than ten members. On the other hand, the results provide also no evidence for the necessity to reduce the number of towns and municipalities in Saxony-Anhalt from 1118 in 2004 to currently 219 – even if the looming population decline is taken into account.

27. October 2011

Authors Peter Haug Annette Illy

Also in this issue

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Cluster Policies in the Federal States of Bavaria and Thuringia: Discrepancies between Practice and Theory

Gerhard Heimpold

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 10, 2011

Abstract

The contribution analyzes cluster policies pursued in the Federal States of Bavaria and Thuringia. The investigation is based on the exploration of government documents. In both countries cluster policy is target at strengthening competitiveness. The documents explored do not reveal an economic justification for cluster policy in the sense of eliminating market failures, e. g. externalities, information asymmetries and coordination failures. Therefore, it is unclear whether the support schemes under consideration really tie in with factors that hamper cluster evolution. Policies in both states support state-wider clusters and networks. The state-wide focus, however, might undervalue advantages of spatial proximity. As another critical point the ex-ante selection of industries or technologies eligible under cluster policy can be regarded. Despite readiness of considering new technologies etc., public administration generally suffers from a lack of information about the future development perspectives of industries and technologies. A way to mitigate the limited capability of public administration in terms of forecasting might be favoring economic support based on competition for the best concepts/projects instead of focusing on certain industries. Several support schemes offered by the Federal government in Germany are already competition-based. In Thuringia cluster policy is strongly motivated by several structural shortcomings, e. g. by the fragmented firm landscape mainly consisting of small units. Therefore, beyond cluster policy, the necessity will remain to abolish directly the structural shortcomings mentioned, especially by providing an economic environment that enhances firm growth.

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Editorial

Ulrich Blum

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 10, 2011

Abstract

Zukunft braucht Herkunft, also Tradition – die sich im Fall des IWH in einer inhaltlichen und auch personalen Forschungskontinuität zeigt. Ohne diese sind kein track record, keine internationale Sichtbarkeit zu entwickeln. Zum dritten Mal innerhalb von sieben Jahren soll sich das IWH, von außen gezwungen, inhaltlich und strukturell neu aufstellen. Die Gründe dafür bleiben unscharf, zumal das Forschungsthema „Von der Transformation zur europäischen Integration“ als tragfähig angesehen wird. Gerade die Entwicklung der wissenschaftlichen Leistungen in den letzten zwei Jahren zeigt, wie produktiv sich das Institut auf dieser Basis entwickelt hat.

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IWH-Industrieumfrage im September 2011: Höhenflug beendet

Cornelia Lang

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 10, 2011

Abstract

Das Geschäftsklima im Verarbeitenden Gewerbe Ostdeutschlands hat sich stark abgekühlt. Dies geht aus den Ergebnissen der IWH-Industrieumfrage vom September unter rund 300 Unternehmen hervor. Die Unternehmen schätzen beide Komponenten des Klimas deutlich schlechter ein als im Juli. So ging der Saldo aus positiven und negativen Bewertungen der aktuellen Geschäftslage um acht Punkte zurück und der Saldo der Geschäftsaussichten für die nächsten sechs Monate sogar um 24 Punkte.

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Macroeconomic Imbalances as Indicators for Debt Crises in Europe

Tobias Knedlik Gregor von Schweinitz

in: Wirtschaft im Wandel, No. 10, 2011

Abstract

European authorities and scholars published proposals on which indicators of macroeconomic imbalances might be used to uncover risks for the sustainability of public debt in the European Union. We test the ability of four proposed sets of indicators to send early-warnings of debt crises using a signals approach for the study of indicators and the construction of composite indicators. We find that a broad composite indicator has the highest predictive power. This fact still holds true if equal weights are used for the construction of the composite indicator in order to reflect the uncertainty about the origin of future crises.

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