04.04.2019 • 10/2019
Service providers in Berlin give boost to East German economy – implications of the Joint Economic Forecast and of official data on the East German economy in 2018
In its spring report, the Joint Economic Forecast group states that the upturn in Germany came to an end in the second half of 2018, mainly because the manufacturing sector is weakening due to a slowing international economy and to problems in the automotive industry. Accordingly, in places such as Saxony (1.2%), Thuringia (0.5%), and Saxony-Anhalt (0.9%), where manufacturing plays a particularly important role, gross domestic product (GDP) grew less than in Germany as a whole (1.4%).
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04.03.2019 • 6/2019
New IWH publication takes stock: “United country – three decades after the Wall came down”
How is Germany’s economy faring 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall? A new publication by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) uses illustrative maps and graphs to show how the Federal Republic has developed compared to other countries and how economic unification has progressed. The publication presents many new findings, including on productivity differences between east and west, urban and rural development, as well as the availability of skilled labour.
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Politics, Banks, and Sub-sovereign Debt: Unholy Trinity or Divine Coincidence?
Michael Koetter, Alexander Popov
Deutsche Bundesbank Discussion Paper,
We exploit election-driven turnover in State and local governments in Germany to study how banks adjust their securities portfolios in response to the loss of political connections. We find that local savings banks, which are owned by their host county and supervised by local politicians, increase significantly their holdings of home-State sovereign bonds when the local government and the State government are dominated by different political parties. Banks' holdings of other securities, like federal bonds, bonds issued by other States, or stocks, are not affected by election outcomes. We argue that banks use sub-sovereign bond purchases to gain access to politically distant government authorities.
Decision Making by the Treuhandanstalt on Privatization, Restructuring, or Liquidation of Former State-owned Firms in East Germany
H.-G. Jeong, G. Heimpold (Hrsg.), Economic Development after German Unification and Implications for Korea. Policy References 18-08. Sejong: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy,
Subject to this paper is the decision making by Treuhandanstalt on privatization, restructuring, or liquidation of former state-owned firms in East Germany. To explain: the Treuhandanstalt was the agency at the Federal level tasked with the privatization of the former state-owned firms of the GDR. All former state-owned firms were assigned to the Treuhandanstalt in mid-1990. The notion of Treuhand firms (“Treuhandfirmen”) will be used to characterize this type of firms.
19.12.2018 • 23/2018
IWH Mid-term Projections: The German Economy and Public Finances 2018 to 2025
In 2018 the general government overall balance is likely to be in surplus by almost 60 billion euros. In the medium term, however, demographic conditions will deteriorate, as will public finances. The financial position of the German state will nevertheless remain stable until 2025, unless major negative shocks occur. “But even if interest rates rose significantly or foreign demand declined markedly, only moderate deficits would arise”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department of Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). However, given the expected reduction of the surplus under existing legislation, there is no room for further increases in spending.
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Crises and Rescues: Liquidity Transmission Through Global Banks
Michael Koetter, Claudia M. Buch, C. T. Koch
International Journal of Central Banking,
This paper shows that global banks transmit liquidity shocks via their network of foreign affiliates. We use the (unexpected) access of German banks' affiliates located in the United States to the Federal Reserve's Term Auction Facility. We condition on the parent banks' U.S. dollar funding needs in order to examine how affiliates located outside the United States adjusted their balance sheets when the U.S. affiliate of the same parent tapped into TAF liquidity. Our research has three main findings. First, affiliates tied to parents with higher U.S. dollar funding needs expanded their foreign assets during periods of active TAF borrowing. Second, the overall effects are driven by affiliates located in financial centers. Third, U.S.- dollar-denominated lending particularly increased in response to the TAF program.
The Efficiency of Local Public-service Production: The Effect of Political Institutions
Peter Bönisch, Peter Haug
Reforms replacing municipal cooperations by centralized municipalities often aim at increasing municipal efficiency. Empirical evidence supporting this aim, however, is ambiguous. Our paper analyzes the effect of institutions on municipal efficiency. In particular, we distinguish two archetypal institutional settings, a centralized and a confederal one, and argue that bureaucrats in a centralized setting are able to increase the fiscal residual. Our empirical test case is the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. We test the effect of the institutional setup using the bootstrap approach suggested by Simar and Wilson (2007), concluding that a decentralized institutional setting improves the efficiency of municipal production.
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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Economic Transition in Unified Germany and Implications for Korea
Hyung-Gon Jeong, Gerhard Heimpold
H.-G. Jeong and G. Heimpold (eds.): Economic Transition in Unified Germany and Implications for Korea. Policy References 17-13. Sejong: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy,
The reunification of Germany, which marked the end of the Cold War in the 20th century, is regarded as one of the most exemplary cases of social integration in human history. Nearly three decades after the German reunification, the economic and social shocks that occurred at the beginning of the reunification process have largely been resolved. Moreover, the unified Germany has grown into one of the most advanced economies in the world.
The unification process that Germany underwent may not necessarily be the way that the Republic of Korea would choose. However, the economic and social exchanges between East and West Germany prior to unification, and the cooperation in a myriad of policies based on these exchanges, served as the crucial foundation for unification. The case of Germany will surely help us find a better way for the re-unification of the Korean Peninsula.
In this context, this is the first edition of a joint research which provides diverse insights on social and economic issues during the process of unification. It consists of nine chapters whose main topics include policies on macroeconomic stabilization, the privatization of state-owned enterprises in East Germany, labor policies and the migration of labor, integration of the social safety nets of the North and South, and securing finances for reunification. To start with, the first part covers macroeconomic stabilization measures, which include policies implemented by the federal government of Germany to overcome macroeconomic shocks directly after the reunification. There was a temporary setback in the economy at the initial phase of reunification as the investment per GDP went down and the level of fiscal debt escalated, reverting to its original trend prior to the reunification. While it appears the momentum for growth was compromised by reunification from the perspective of growth rate of real GDP, this state did not last long and benefits have outpaced the costs since 2000.
In the section which examines the privatization of state-owned enterprises in East Germany, an analysis was conducted on the modernization of industrial infrastructure of East German firms. There was a surge in investment in East German area at the beginning stages but this was focused on a specific group of firms. Most of the firms were privatized through unofficial channels, with a third of these conducted in a management buy-out (MBO) process that was highly effective. Further analysis of a firm called Jenoptik, which was successfully bailed out, is incorporated as to draw implications of its accomplishments.
In the section on migration, we examine how the gap between the unemployment rates in the West and East have narrowed as the population flow shifted from the West to East. Consequently, there was no significant deviation in terms of the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) per capita in each state of East Germany. However, as the labor market stabilized in East Germany and population flows have weakened, the deviation will become larger. Meanwhile, if we make a prediction about the movement of population between the North and the South, which show a remarkable difference in their economic circumstances, a radical reunification process such as Germany’s case would force 7% of the population of the North to move towards the South. Upon reunification, the estimated unemployment rate in North Korea would remain at least 30% for the time being. In order to reduce the initial unemployment rate, it is crucial to design a program that trains the unemployed and to build a system that predicts changes in labor demand.
It seems nearly impossible to apply the social safety nets of the South to the North, as there is a systemic difference in ideologies. Taking steps toward integration would be the most suitable option in the case of the Koreas. We propose to build a sound groundwork for stabilizing the interest rates and exchange rates, maintain stable fiscal policies, raise momentum for economic growth and make sure people understand the means required to financially support the North in order to reduce the gap between the two.
This book was jointly organized and edited by Dr. Hyung-gon Jeong of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) and Dr. Gerhard Heimpold of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). We believe that this report, which examines numerous social and economic agendas that emerged during the reunification of Germany, will provide truly important reference for both Koreas. It is also our view that it will serve as a stepping-stone to establish policies in regard to South-North exchanges across numerous sectors prior to discussions of reunification. KIEP will continue to work with IWH and contribute its expertise to the establishment of grounds for unification policies.
Who Benefits from GRW? Heterogeneous Employment Effects of Investment Subsidies in Saxony Anhalt
Eva Dettmann, Mirko Titze, Antje Weyh
IWH Discussion Papers,
The paper estimates the plant level employment effects of investment subsidies in one of the most strongly subsidized German Federal States. We analyze the treated plants as a whole, as well as the influence of heterogeneity in plant characteristics and the economic environment. Modifying the standard matching and difference-in-difference approach, we develop a new procedure that is particularly useful for the evaluation of funding programs with individual treatment phases within the funding period. Our data base combines treatment, employment and regional information from different sources. So, we can relate the absolute effects to the amount of the subsidy paid. The results suggest that investment subsidies have a positive influence on the employment development in absolute and standardized figures – with considerable effect heterogeneity.