09.03.2017 • 12/2017
Comment: Keep cool and be prepared – IWH president Gropp on the ECB’s interest rates decision
”The European Central Bank (ECB) decided to keep interest rates unchanged today. No surprise here. But Mario Draghi unfortunately did not provide a signal to markets that the ECB may be moving on interest rates in the foreseeable future. “This is a reasonable decision, but also a missed opportunity”, Reint E. Gropp, president of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association, says. “An ECB increase interest rate move must be well prepared, and today’s press conference would have been an opportunity to prepare markets for the fact that interest rates cannot stay where they are forever.”
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Debt Brake Will Intensify Bracket Creep Problem
As taxpayers typically pay relatively little attention to low levels of inflation induced income tax bracket creep, policy makers tend to regularly postpone correction of this problem. Eventually, however, the fiscal illusion fades away, and political pressure for tax relief arises once the cumulative increase of the average tax rate exceeds a critical threshold. Using Germany as an example, it is shown that bracket creep can provoke revenue cycles in public budgets that hinder governments’ compliance with the numerical budget rules. An indexation of the tax tariff, which would provide an automatic correction for bracket creep, could prevent such fluctuations and thus provide a favourable framework for the debt brake.
12.01.2017 • 6/2017
Aufmacher hui – Qualität pfui Fehlerhafte Darstellung der Qualität der IWH-Prognosen im Handelsblatt
In der Ausgabe vom 09.01.2017 schreibt das Handelsblatt (Norbert Häring: „Neues Jahr, neues Glück“), dass die Konjunkturprognosen der Wirtschaftsforschungsinstitute kaum besser seien als eine bloße Fortschreibung der Vorjahreswerte (naive Prognose). Beispielhaft wird eine Graphik („Wachstum hui, Inflation pfui“) zur Prognose der Inflationsrate gezeigt, in der das Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle (IWH) besonders schlecht abschneidet. Oliver Holtemöller, Vizepräsident des IWH und verantwortlich für die IWH-Konjunkturprognosen, stellt hierzu klar: „Die Darstellung des Handelsblatts zur Güte der IWH-Inflationsprognose ist falsch. Der Fehler ist auf handwerkliche Mängel in der wissenschaftlichen Studie zurückzuführen, auf die sich das Handelsblatt beruft.“ Tatsächlich können die Institute die Inflation (und andere wichtige Indikatoren) genauer vorhersagen als eine naive Prognose.
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14.12.2016 • 50/2016
The German Economy: Economic Activity Spurred by Private Consumption and Construction
German economic activity remains robust due to strong domestic demand. IWH forecasts gross domestic product (GDP) to increase by 1.3% in 2017. The growth rate is half a percentage point lower than in 2016 due to calendar effects and a negative contribution of external trade. Consumer price inflation also remains modest (1.3%). “Unemployment is expected to increase slightly due to a protracted integration of refugees into the labor market”, says Oliver Holtemöller, Head of the Department Macroeconomics and IWH vice president
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Bracket Creeps: Bane or Boon for the Stability of Numerical Budget Rules?
IWH Discussion Papers,
As taxpayers typically pay low attention to a small inflation-induced bracket creep of the income tax, policy-makers tend to postpone its correction into the future. However, the fiscal illusion fades away and political pressure for a tax relief arises since after some years the cumulative increase of the average tax rate exceeds a critical threshold. Using Germany as an example, this paper shows that bracket creeps can provoke revenue cycles in public budgets hindering governments’ compliance with the numerical budget rules. An indexation of the tax tariff could prevent such fluctuations and thus provides a favourable framework for the debt rule.
Global Food Prices and Monetary Policy in an Emerging Market Economy: The Case of India
Journal of Asian Economics,
This paper investigates a perception in the political debates as to what extent poor countries are affected by price movements in the global commodity markets. To test this perception, we use the case of India to establish in a standard SVAR model that global food prices influence aggregate prices and food prices in India. To further analyze these empirical results, we specify a small open economy New-Keynesian model including oil and food prices and estimate it using observed data over the period 1996Q2 to 2013Q2 by applying Bayesian estimation techniques. The results suggest that a big part of the variation in inflation in India is due to cost-push shocks and, mainly during the years 2008 and 2010, also to global food price shocks, after having controlled for exogenous rainfall shocks. We conclude that the inflationary supply shocks (cost-push, oil price, domestic food price and global food price shocks) are important contributors to inflation in India. Since the monetary authority responds to these supply shocks with a higher interest rate which tends to slow growth, this raises concerns about how such output losses can be prevented by reducing exposure to commodity price shocks.
29.09.2016 • 40/2016
Joint Economic Forecast: German Economy on Track – Economic Policy needs to be Realigned
Thanks to a stable job market and solid consumption, the German economy is experiencing a moderate upswing. The GDP is expected to increase by 1.9 percent this year, 1.4 percent in 2017, and 1.6 percent in 2018, according to the Gemeinschaftsdiagnose (GD, joint economic forecast) that was prepared by five of Europe’s leading economic research institutes on behalf of the Federal Government. The most recent GD, which was released in April, predicted a GDP growth rate of 1.6 percent for 2016 and 1.5 percent for 2017.
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The Macroeconomic Risks of Undesirably Low Inflation
European Economic Review,
This paper investigates the macroeconomic risks associated with undesirably low inflation using a medium-sized New Keynesian model. We consider different causes of persistently low inflation, including a downward shift in long-run inflation expectations, a fall in nominal wage growth, and a favorable supply-side shock. We show that the macroeconomic effects of persistently low inflation depend crucially on its underlying cause, as well as on the extent to which monetary policy is constrained by the zero lower bound. Finally, we discuss policy options to mitigate these effects.