21.06.2016 • 25/2016
German Federal Constitutional Court makes right decision on Draghis OMT programme
I welcome the decision by the German Federal Constitutional Court. The court approved OMT (outright monetary transactions), which enables the European Central Bank (ECB) to purchase short-term government bonds in secondary markets in order to stabilize euro member countries in a crisis.
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CEO Political Preference and Corporate Tax Sheltering
Journal of Corporate Finance,
We show that firms led by politically partisan CEOs are associated with a higher level of corporate tax sheltering than firms led by nonpartisan CEOs. Specifically, Republican CEOs are associated with more corporate tax sheltering even when their wealth is not tied with that of shareholders and when corporate governance is weak, suggesting that their tax sheltering decisions could be driven by idiosyncratic factors such as their political ideology. We also show that Democratic CEOs are associated with more corporate tax sheltering only when their stock-based incentives are high, suggesting that their tax sheltering decisions are more likely to be driven by economic incentives. In sum, our results support the political connection hypothesis in general but highlight that the specific factors driving partisan CEOs' tax sheltering behaviors differ. Our results imply that it may cost firms more to motivate Democratic CEOs to engage in more tax sheltering activities because such decisions go against their political beliefs regarding tax policies.
09.06.2016 • 22/2016
The German Economy Benefits from Strong Domestic Demand
In 2016, the moderate upswing of the German economy continues. Incomes grow due to the steady expansion in employment, and the fall in energy prices has propped up the purchasing power of private households. As a consequence, private consumption expands healthily; investment in housing is additionally stimulated by very low interest rates. Exports, however, expand only moderately, as the world economy is rather weak. All in all, the IWH forecasts the German GDP to expand by 1.8% in this year and by 1.6% in 2017.
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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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Regulations, institutions and income smoothing by managing technical reserves: international evidence from the insurance industry
Omega, The International Journal of Management Science,
This paper investigates the role of technical reserves in the income smoothing behavior of insurance companies. This is one of the first attempts in the literature to trace such relationship in the insurance industry, especially at a multi-country setting. The experience of 770 insurance firms operating in 87 countries over the period 2000–2009 reveals that there is a significant evidence of income smoothing. The paper also finds that institutional characteristics, e.g., the rule of law, common law legal origin, economic freedom, and regulations relating to technical provisions and supervisory power constrain income smoothing but other factors such as capital requirements, tax deductibility of provisions, auditing, and corporate governance do not have a significant effect.
Transition to Clean Technology
Journal of Political Economy,
We develop an endogenous growth model in which clean and dirty technologies compete in production. Research can be directed to either technology. If dirty technologies are more advanced, the transition to clean technology can be difficult. Carbon taxes and research subsidies may encourage production and innovation in clean technologies, though the transition will typically be slow. We estimate the model using microdata from the US energy sector. We then characterize the optimal policy path that heavily relies on both subsidies and taxes. Finally, we evaluate various alternative policies. Relying only on carbon taxes or delaying intervention has significant welfare costs.
Drei Optionen zur Reform der Einkommensteuer
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Die Belastung der Einkommen mit Steuern und Beiträgen ist in Deutschland im internationalen Vergleich hoch. Ferner nehmen die Steuereinnahmen aufgrund der Steuerprogression im Verhältnis zur Bemessungsgrundlage trendmäßig zu. Um den dadurch zunehmenden ineffizienten Keil zwischen Arbeitgeberkosten und Arbeitnehmerbezügen nicht weiter steigen zu lassen oder sogar zu reduzieren, ist eine Reform des Einkommensteuertarifs erforderlich. In diesem Beitrag werden drei Reformvorschläge unterbreitet, die alle zu einer ähnlichen Gesamtentlastung führen würden, aber unterschiedliche Effizienz- und Verteilungswirkungen haben. Die Entscheidung für einen konkreten Tarifverlauf hängt letztlich von politischen Präferenzen ab.
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.
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Monetary Policy under the Microscope: Intra-bank Transmission of Asset Purchase Programs of the ECB
IWH Discussion Papers,
With a unique loan portfolio maintained by a top-20 universal bank in Germany, this study tests whether unconventional monetary policy by the European Central Bank (ECB) reduced corporate borrowing costs. We decompose corporate lending rates into refinancing costs, as determined by money markets, and markups that the bank is able to charge its customers in regional markets. This decomposition reveals how banks transmit monetary policy within their organizations. To identify policy effects on loan rate components, we exploit the co-existence of eurozone-wide security purchase programs and regional fiscal policies at the district level. ECB purchase programs reduced refinancing costs significantly, even in an economy not specifically targeted for sovereign debt stress relief, but not loan rates themselves. However, asset purchases mitigated those loan price hikes due to additional credit demand stimulated by regional tax policy and enabled the bank to realize larger economic margins.