03.05.2016 • 20/2016
Are Lacking Structural Reforms in the Financial Sector the Underlying Reason for the German Criticism of the ECB?
The major reason for the intense criticism of the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) low-interest-rate policy may be the lack of structural reforms in the German banking system. The resulting persistent fragmentation increases the banking sector’s vulnerability to the low-interest-rate environment. Hence, parts of the banking sector, due to their strong ties to politicians, appear to have successfully influenced public opinion against the ECB.
Reint E. Gropp
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16.03.2016 • 10/2016
German Economy Stays Stable Despite Shaky Environment
The German economy had a good start into the year 2016, in spite of heightened risks for the world economy and political turmoil in Europe. Employment and incomes are expanding, as is internal de-mand, additionally supported by government spending related to the high number of newly arrived refugees. However, sliding sentiment indicates a temporary slow down of the economy during this spring. We assume that the present political tensions inside the European Union can be mitigated in the coming months and that confidence will rise again. All in all, gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to rise by 1.5% in 2016.
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Legal Insider Trading and Stock Market Liquidity
Hans Degryse, Frank de Jong, Jérémie Lefebvre
This paper assesses the impact of legal trades by corporate insiders on the liquidity of the firm’s stock. For this purpose, we analyze two liquidity measures and one information asymmetry measure. The analysis allows us to study as well the effect of a change in insider trading regulation, namely the implementation of the Market Abuse Directive (European Union Directive 2003/6/EC) on the Dutch stock market. The first set of results shows that, in accordance with theories of asymmetric information, the intensity of legal insider trading in a given company is positively related to the bid-ask spread and to the information asymmetry measure. We also find that the Market Abuse Directive did not reduce significantly this effect. Secondly, analyzing liquidity and information asymmetry around the days of legal insider trading, we find that small and large capitalization stocks see their bid-ask spread and the permanent price impact increase when insiders trade. For mid-cap stocks, only the permanent price impact increases. Finally, we could not detect a significant improvement of these results following the change in regulation.
Zur räumlichen Verteilung von Flüchtlingen im Föderalstaat
Oliver Holtemöller, Matthias Wieschemeyer
ifo Schnelldienst 04/2016,
The current refugee crisis is creating a huge challenge for the European Union. Germany in particular is currently experiencing a flood of people, who are seeking safety and economic prospects. These individuals include a growing number of refugees: an estimated one million refugees came to Germany in 2015. And the flow of refugees continues. Can Germany’s economy capitalise on the opportunities offered by immigration? What are the costs of integration? These questions are discussed by the presidents of Germany’s leading economic research institutes, as well as other migration experts.
10.08.2015 • 30/2015
Germany Benefited Substantially from the Greek Crisis
The balanced budget in Germany is largely the result of lower interest payments due to the European debt crisis. Research from the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association shows that the debt crisis resulted in a reduction in German bund rates of about 300 basis points (BP), yielding interest savings of more than EUR 100 billion (or more than 3% of gross domestic product, GDP) during the period 2010 to 2015. A significant part of this reduction is directly attributable to the Greek crisis. When discussing the costs to the German tax payer of saving Greece, these benefits should not be overlooked, as they tend to be larger than the expenses, even in a scenario where Greece does not repay any of its debts.
Reint E. Gropp
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06.07.2015 • 27/2015
Rejection of Reforms as a Chance for Reforms
The President of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association continues to see a chance for an agreement between the European Union (EU) and Greece. On the surface, Grexit looks now more likely than ever. But the resignation of Yanis Varoufakis, Minister of Finance, and the outcome of the referendum may also provide a chance for the Greek government to agree on reforms and save face. But the window of opportunity is closing very fast.
Reint E. Gropp
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The Euro Plus Pact: Competitiveness and External Capital Flows in the EU Countries
Hubert Gabrisch, K. Staehr
Journal of Common Market Studies,
The Euro Plus Pact was approved by the European Union countries in March 2011. The pact stipulates various measures to strengthen competitiveness with the ultimate aim of preventing accumulation of unsustainable external imbalances. This article uses Granger causality tests to assess the short-term linkages between changes in relative unit labour costs and changes in the current account balance for the period 1995–2011. The main finding is that changes in the current account balance precede changes in relative unit labour costs, while there is no discernible effect in the opposite direction. This suggests that capital flows from the European core to the periphery contributed to the divergence in unit labour costs across Europe prior to the global financial crisis. The results also suggest that the measures to restrain unit labour costs may have only limited effect on the current account balance in the short term.
Do Manufacturing Firms Benefit from Services FDI? – Evidence from Six New EU Member States
J. Damijan, Crt Kostevc, Philipp Marek, Matija Rojec
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper focuses on the effect of foreign presence in the services sector on the productivity growth of downstream customers in the manufacturing sector in six EU new member countries in the course of their accession to the European Union. For this purpose, the analysis combines firm-level information, data on economic structures and annual national input-output tables. The findings suggest that services FDI may enhance productivity of manufacturing firms in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries through vertical forward spillovers, and thereby contribute to their competitiveness. The consideration of firm characteristics shows that the magnitude of spillover effects depends on size, ownership structure, and initial productivity level of downstream firms as well as on the diverging technological intensity across sector on the supply and demand side. The results suggest that services FDI foster productivity of domestic rather than foreign controlled firms in the host economy. For the period between 2003 and 2008, the findings suggest that the increasing share of services provided by foreign affiliates enhanced the productivity growth of domestic firms in manufacturing by 0.16%. Furthermore, the firms’ absorptive capability and the size reduce the spillover effect of services FDI on the productivity of manufacturing firms. A sectoral distinction shows that firms at the end of the value chain experience a larger productivity growth through services FDI, whereas the aggregate positive effect seems to be driven by FDI in energy supply. This does not hold for science-based industries, which are spurred by foreign presence in knowledge-intensive business services.
The Development of Cities and Municipalities in Central and Eastern Europe: Introduction for a Special Issue of 'Urban Research and Practice'
Martin T. W. Rosenfeld, Albrecht Kauffmann
Urban Research & Practice, Vol. 7 (3),
Since the 1990s, local governments in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have been confronted by completely new structures and developments. This came after more than 40 years (or even longer in the case of the former Soviet Union) under a socialist regime and behind an iron curtain which isolated them from the non-socialist world. A lack of resources had led to an underinvestment in the refurbishment of older buildings, while relatively cheap ‘prefabricated’ housing had been built, not only in the outskirts of cities, but also within city centres. A lack of resources had also resulted in the fact that the socialist regimes were generally unable to replace old buildings with ‘modern’ ones; hence, there is a very rich heritage of historical monuments in many of these cities today. The centrally planned economies and the development of urban structures (including the shifts of population between cities and regions) were determined by ideology, political rationality and the integration of all CEE countries into the production schemes of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and its division of labour by location. The sudden introduction of a market economy, private property, democratic rules, local autonomy for cities and municipalities and access to the global economy and society may be seen as a kind of ‘natural experiment’. How would these new conditions shape the national systems of cities and municipalities? Which cities would shrink and which would grow? How would the relationship between core cities and their surrounding municipalities develop? And what would happen within these cities and with their built environment?