14.12.2021 • 29/2021
German economy not yet immune to COVID 19 ‒ outlook clouded again
The current pandemic wave and supply bottlenecks cause the German economy to stagnate in winter. When infection rates go down in spring, private consumption will increase significantly. In addition, supply restrictions will be gradually reduced. As a result, the economy will regain momentum. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that German gross domestic product will increase by 3.5% (East Germany: 2.7%) in 2022, after 2.7% (East Germany: 2.1%) in the current year. Inflation is expected to decline only slowly.
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14.09.2021 • 23/2021
Production bottlenecks delay recovery
The German recovery made good progress over the summer 2021. However, bottlenecks in sea transport and the production of intermediate goods are weighing on world trade. The rise in raw material prices has prompted inflation rates to spike, and an increase in new infections is clouding the outlook again. A weak final quarter is therefore to be expected. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that German gross domestic product (GDP) will increase by 2.2% in 2021 and 3.6% in 2022 (East Germany: 1.8% and 2.8%).
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Conditional Macroeconomic Forecasts: Disagreement, Revisions and Forecast Errors
IWH Discussion Papers,
Using data from the European Central Bank‘s Survey of Professional Forecasters, we analyse the role of ex-ante conditioning variables for macroeconomic forecasts. In particular, we test to which extent the heterogeneity, updating and ex-post performance of predictions for inflation, real GDP growth and the unemployment rate are related to assumptions about future oil prices, exchange rates, interest rates and wage growth. Our findings indicate that inflation forecasts are closely associated with oil price expectations, whereas expected interest rates are used primarily to predict output growth and unemployment. Expectations about exchange rates and wage growth also matter for macroeconomic forecasts, albeit less so than oil prices and interest rates. We show that survey participants can considerably improve forecast accuracy for macroeconomic outcomes by reducing prediction errors for external conditions. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the expectation formation process of experts.
01.02.2021 • 4/2021
During Corona, households are saving more – not for fear of unemployment but for lack of spending opportunities
During the Corona crisis, European households increased their savings dramatically. According to an analysis carried out by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), the increase in savings is largely due to the inability of households to consume in the face of government lockdown measures, rather than other factors such as economic uncertainty. IWH President Reint Gropp therefore sees potential for a significant catch-up effect in consumption as soon as the lockdown is lifted.
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Switching to Good Policy? The Case of Central and Eastern European Inflation Targeters
The paper analyzes how actual monetary policy changed following the official adoption of inflation targeting in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland and how it affected the volatilities of important macroeconomic variables in the years thereafter. To disentangle the effects of the policy shift from exogenous changes in the volatilities of these variables, a Markov-switching dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model is estimated that allows for regime switches in the policy parameters and the volatilities of shocks hitting the economies. Whereas estimation results reveal periods of high and low volatility for all three economies, the presence of different policy regimes is supported by the underlying data for the Czech Republic and Poland, only. In both economies, monetary policy switched from weak and unsystematic to strong and systematic responses to inflation dynamics. Simulation results suggest that the policy shifts of both central banks successfully reduced inflation volatility in the following years. The observed reduction in output volatility, on the other hand, is attributed more to a reduction in the size of external shocks.