11.03.2021 • 8/2021
New wave of infections suspends economic recovery
The lockdown is being eased only slightly in Germany in March 2021, and gross domestic product (GDP) declines significantly in the first quarter of 2021. As vaccination campaigns progress and restrictions are gradually eased, a normalisation of household consumption patterns will likely boost the economy later during the year. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that GDP will increase by 3.7% in 2021, following a decline of 4.9% in 2020. In East Germany, both the contraction and the rebound are much less pronounced.
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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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16.12.2020 • 26/2020
New wave of infections delays economic recovery in Germany
The lockdown is causing production in Germany to decline at the end of the year. When restrictions will be relaxed again, the recovery is likely to pick up pace only slowly, partly because the temporary reduction in value-added taxes is expiring. In spring, milder temperatures and an increasing portion of the population being vaccinated are likely to support the German economy to expand more strongly. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that gross domestic product will increase by 4.4% in 2021, following a 5% decline in 2020. In East Germany, both the decline and the recovery will be significantly less pronounced.
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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.
Sovereign Default Risk, Macroeconomic Fluctuations and Monetary-Fiscal Stabilisation
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper examines the role of sovereign default beliefs for macroeconomic fluctuations and stabilisation policy in a small open economy where fiscal solvency is a critical problem. We set up and estimate a DSGE model on Turkish data and show that accounting for sovereign risk significantly improves the fit of the model through an endogenous amplication between default beliefs, exchange rate and inflation movements. We then use the estimated model to study the implications of sovereign risk for stability, fiscal and monetary policy, and their interaction. We find that a relatively strong fiscal feedback from deficits to taxes, some exchange rate targeting, or a monetary response to default premia are more effective and efficient stabilisation tools than hawkish inflation targeting.
Trade Effects of Silver Price Fluctuations in 19th-Century China: A Macro Approach
China Economic Journal,
We assess the role of silver price fluctuations in Chinese trade and GDP during the late Qing dynasty, when China still had a bimetallic (silver/copper) monetary system, in which silver was mostly used for international trade. Using a structural VAR (SVAR) with blockwise recursive identification, we identify the impact of silver price shocks on the Chinese economy from 1867, when trade data became available, to 1910, one year before the Qing dynasty collapsed. We find that silver price shocks had a sizable impact on both imports and exports but only a very minor effect on the trade balance, only a marginal impact on growth, and almost no effect on domestic prices. Stronger effects were partly mitigated by inelastic export quantities. Generally, the effect of silver price shocks, while considerable, was only short-lived, displaying no persistence in either direction. We find that the bimetallic system in Qing China might have mitigated a potential positive effect of silver depreciation but did not reverse the effect, which – contrary to claims made in the previous literature – was responsible for neither the worsening trade balance nor the inflation and the quickly increasing imports that occurred during our sample period.
The Evolution of Monetary Policy in Latin American Economies: Responsiveness to Inflation under Different Degrees of Credibility
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper investigates the forward-lookingness of monetary policy related to stabilising inflation over time under different degrees of central bank credibility in the four largest Latin American economies, which experienced a different transition path to the full-fledged inflation targeting regime. The analysis is based on an interest rate-based hybrid monetary policy rule with time-varying coefficients, which captures possible shifts from a backward-looking to a forward-looking monetary policy rule related to inflation stabilisation. The main results show that monetary policy is fully forward-looking and exclusively reacts to expected inflation under nearly perfect central bank credibility. Under a partially credible central bank, monetary policy is both backward-looking and forward-looking in terms of stabilising inflation. Moreover, monetary authorities put increasingly more priority on stabilising expected inflation relative to actual inflation if central bank credibility tends to improve over time.
Phillips Curve and Output Expectations: New Perspectives from the Euro Zone
DEM Working Papers,
When referring to the inﬂation trends over the last decade, economists speak of "puzzles": a “missing disinﬂation” puzzle in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and a ”missing inﬂation” one in the years of recovery to nowadays. To this, a specific "excess deflation" puzzle may be added during the post-crisis depression in the Euro Zone. The standard Phillips Curve model, in this context, has failed as the basic tool to produce reliable forecasts of future price developments, leading many scholars to consider this instrument to be no more adequate. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to this literature through the development of a newly specified Phillips Curve model, in which the inflation-expectation component is rationally related to the business cycle. The model is tested with the Euro Zone data 1999-2019 showing that inflation turns out to be consistently determined by output gaps and and experts' survey-based forecast errors, and that the puzzles can be explained by the interplay between these two variables.
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