25.01.2021 • 2/2021
High public deficits not only due to the pandemic – Medium-term options for fiscal policy
According to the IWH’s medium-term projection, Germany's gross domestic product will grow more slowly between 2020 and 2025 than before, not only because of the pandemic crisis, but also because the work force will decline. The resulting structural public deficits are, if the legal framework remains unchanged, likely to be higher than the debt brake allows. Consolidation measures, especially if they relate to government revenues, entail economic losses in the short term. “There is much to be said, also from a theoretical point of view, for not abolishing the debt brake, but for relaxing it to some extent,” says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department of Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
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The Impact of Social Capital on Economic Attitudes and Outcomes
Journal of International Money and Finance,
This article traces the extant literature on the impact of social capital on economic attitudes and outcomes. Special attention is paid to clarify conceptual ambiguities, measurement techniques, channels of influence, and identification strategies. Insights derived from the literature are then used to analyze the marketplace lending industry in China, where the size of the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending market is larger than that of the rest of the world combined. Ironically, approximately two-thirds of these online P2P lending platforms have failed. Empirical evidence from the monthly operating data of 735 lending platforms and transaction level data from one prominent platform (Renrendai) shows that platforms in provinces with high social capital have low risk of failure, and borrowers in provinces with high social capital can borrow at low interest rate and are less likely to default. We also provide observations to guide future economic research on social capital.
Are Bank Capital Requirements Optimally Set? Evidence from Researchers’ Views
Journal of Financial Stability,
We survey 149 leading academic researchers on bank capital regulation. The median (average) respondent prefers a 10% (15%) minimum non-risk-weighted equity-to-assets ratio, which is considerably higher than the current requirement. North Americans prefer a significantly higher equity-to-assets ratio than Europeans. We find substantial support for the new forms of regulation introduced in Basel III, such as liquidity requirements. Views are most dispersed regarding the use of hybrid assets and bail-inable debt in capital regulation. 70% of experts would support an additional market-based capital requirement. When investigating factors driving capital requirement preferences, we find that the typical expert believes a five percentage points increase in capital requirements would “probably decrease” both the likelihood and social cost of a crisis with “minimal to no change” to loan volumes and economic activity. The best predictor of capital requirement preference is how strongly an expert believes that higher capital requirements would increase the cost of bank lending.
14.10.2020 • 22/2020
Economic slump in East Germany not as severe as in Germany as a whole ‒ Implications of the Joint Economic Forecast and new data for East Germany
The German economy started recovering quickly after the drastic pandemic-related slump in spring 2020. The recovery, however, loses much of its momentum in the second half of the year. The Joint Economic Forecast predicts that production levels seen before the crisis will not be reached again until the second half of 2021. In principle, the East German economy is following this pattern, although the economic slump is likely to be somewhat milder.
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Is Social Capital Associated with Corporate Innovation? Evidence from Publicly Listed Firms in the U.S.
Journal of Corporate Finance,
We find that social capital in U.S. counties, as captured by strength of social norms and density of social networks, is positively associated with innovation of firms headquartered in the county, as captured by patents and citations. This relation is robust in fixed-effect regressions, instrumental variable regressions with a Bartik instrument, propensity score matching regressions, and a difference-in-differences design that isolates the effects of over time variations in social capital due to corporate headquarter relocations. Strength of social norms plays a more dominant role than density of social networks in producing these empirical regularities. Cross-sectional evidence indicates the prominence of the contracting channel through which social capital relates to innovation. Additionally, we find that social capital is also positively associated with trademarks and effectiveness of corporate R&D expenditures.
Entrenchment through Corporate Social Responsibility: Evidence from CEO Network Centrality
International Review of Financial Analysis,
This paper investigates whether CEOs with high network centrality entrench themselves when taking CSR decisions and how that affects firm value. Evidence portrays that CSR in firms with more central CEOs is negatively associated with firm-value, and this association is mitigated by better corporate governance mechanisms and by geographic areas of higher social capital. This negative association is lower during disasters which reflect periods of positive exogenous shocks to the societal demand for CSR. Furthermore, CSR by more central CEOs is positively associated with future increases in CEO compensation and future improvement in a CEO's network position. The findings reveal that, in general, central CEOs use CSR to entrench themselves and gain private benefits rather than increase shareholder value.
26.06.2019 • 14/2019
Study: How financial crises lower life satisfaction and how to prevent this
Financial crises not only result in severe disruptions to the economic system, they also affect people’s life satisfaction. A new study by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) shows that weaker members of society are more affected by increased uncertainty during crisis times, even if they may not be speculating on the stock market themselves. This could potentially also lower their propensity to consume, thereby intensifying the impact of a financial crisis. The study was recently published in “The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy”.
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18.12.2018 • 22/2018
IWH leads large scale EU research project on productivity
Is productivity growth slowing in industrialised countries? And if so, why? From the start of 2019, the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) will be addressing these questions as the coordinator of a new EU project. Economists and statistics experts from nine European partners will collaborate on the three-year project, entitled MICROPROD. With a total budget of just under three million euros, it is the IWH’s largest EU project to date.
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Taken by Storm: Business Financing and Survival in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
Journal of Economic Geography,
We use Hurricane Katrina’s damage to the Mississippi coast in 2005 as a natural experiment to study business survival in the aftermath of a capital-destruction shock. We find very low survival rates for businesses that incurred physical damage, particularly for small firms and less-productive establishments. Conditional on survival, larger and more-productive businesses that rebuilt their operations hired more workers than their smaller and less-productive counterparts. Auxiliary evidence from the Survey of Business Owners suggests that the differential size effect is tied to the presence of financial constraints, pointing to a socially inefficient level of exits and to distortions of allocative efficiency in response to this negative shock. Over time, the size advantage disappeared and market mechanisms seem to prevail.
19.04.2018 • 7/2018
Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2018: Germany’s Economic Experts Raise Forecast Slightly
Berlin, 19 April – Germany’s leading economic experts raised their forecasts for 2018 and 2019 slightly in their Spring Joint Economic Forecast released on Thursday in Berlin. They now expect economic growth of 2.2 percent for this year and 2.0 percent for 2019, versus 2.0 percent and 1.8 percent respectively in their autumn forecast. “The German economy is still booming, but the air is getting thinner as unused capacities are shrinking“, notes Timo Wollmershaeuser, ifo Head of Economic Forecasting. Commenting on the new German government’s economic policy, he adds: “It is precisely when the government’s coffers are full that fiscal policy should reflect the implications of its actions for overall economic stability and the sustainability of public finances. The extension of statutory pension benefits outlined in the coalition agreement runs counter to the idea of sustainability.”
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