24.06.2016 • 26/2016
UK’s “No” to EU will be costly for both sides
On Thursday 23rd, the British people have decided to leave the European Union (EU) Their vote not to remain in the European community was surprisingly clear. UK’s exit will have both political and economic consequences which are far-reaching for the country itself as well as the rest of Europe. “The reactions of the remaining member states are the crucial key now, especially France’s and Germany’s” says Reint E. Gropp, President of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association.
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Mere Criticism of the ECB is no Solution
Criticism in Germany of the ECB is counter-productive. Monetary policy must remain expansive so that it can at least begin to fulfil the ECB mandate. The preservation of its credibility also demands that. Instead of the ECB doing less, European policymakers must do more. They need to act more decisively to set Europe back upon a growth path.
[A shorter version was published under the title “Kritik an Draghi ist noch keine Lösung“ in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung of April 10, 2016].
Policymakers, including in Germany, can no longer shirk their responsibility for the current economic situation in large parts of Europe. That calls for growth-friendly fiscal policy, structural reforms to open up new markets and consolidation and restructuring of the financial sector. We in Germany, above all, must look in the mirror, because we need the majority of these reforms just as urgently as our European neighbours do.
Refugee Migration – A Global Humanitarian Crisis Reaches Germany
Policy Brief Nr. 01/2015,
In this Policy Brief, the issue of current refugee migration to Europe will be discussed from various perspectives and literature on this topic from the participating institutes will be put into context. The current situation bears characteristics of a crisis. On the one hand this is due to the high numbers of refugees. On the other hand, there are fundamental problems with the existing asylum system in Europe, meaning that it is unable to handle the situation effectively – even though the problem itself is not new. The integration of incoming people into society and the labour market has linguistic, qualification-related, cultural and political dimensions.
In the Leibniz Research Alliance 'Crises in a Globalised World', 23 Leibniz institutes are working together in an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary manner to enhance understanding of the mechanisms and dynamics of crises and their mutual interdependencies.
The Development of Cities and Municipalities in Central and Eastern Europe: Introduction for a Special Issue of 'Urban Research and Practice'
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?
Musterknabe Osteuropa: Subventionskontrolle und staatliche Beihilfen
Ten years after the biggest enlargement in the history of the EU, the integration of the new member states is assessed positively. It is considered an economic success when looking at the income levels. However, due to overly optimistic assumptions and the crisis, economic integration and the catching-up process will take much longer for the new EU member states than originally expected. Moreover, new challenges are looming, especially as the Central and Eastern European accession countries adopt the euro. Smaller countries introduced the euro as quickly as possible, whereas larger countries have been much more hesitant, thinking twice not only because of several unsolved problems in the euro area but also because they use the exchange rate tool much more intensively. All new member states have to make sure they continue to increase their productivity and competitiveness. Findings suggest that after having entered the EU, the new eastern member states appear to have been developing rather stringent competition cultures. Bulgaria and Romania’s transition performance significantly differs from the pattern in the 2004 accession countries, both in terms of quantitative growth and institutional quality. These countries show that EU funds can be highly counter-productive since they help to conserve old structures.
An Empirical Analysis of Legal Insider Trading in The Netherlands
In this paper, we employ a registry of legal insider trading for Dutch listed firms to investigate the information content of trades by corporate insiders. Using a standard event-study methodology, we examine short-term stock price behavior around trades. We find that purchases are followed by economically large abnormal returns. This result is strongest for purchases by top executives and for small market capitalization firms, which is consistent with the hypothesis that legal insider trading is an important channel through which information flows to the market. We analyze also the impact of the implementation of the Market Abuse Directive (European Union Directive 2003/6/EC), which strengthens the existing regulation in the Netherlands. We show that the new regulation reduced the information content of sales by top executives.
How does Institutional Setting Affect the Impact of EU Structural Funds on Economic Cohesion? New Evidence from Central and Eastern Europe
Journal of Common Market Studies,
Structural Funds are the main instrument of the EU Cohesion Policy. Their effective use is subject to an ongoing debate in political and scientific circles. European fiscal assistance under this heading should promote economic and social cohesion in the member states of the European Union. Recently the domestic institutional capacity to absorb, to distribute and to invest Structural Funds effectively has become a crucial determinant of the cohesion process and has attracted attention of the scientific community. The aim of this study is to shed light on the effectiveness of Structural Funds in the countries of the first Central and Eastern European enlargement round in 2004. Using regional data for these countries we have a look on the impact of several institutional governance variables on the effectiveness of Structural Funds. In the interpretation of results reference is made to regional economics. Results of the empirical analysis indicate an influence of certain institutional variables on the effectiveness of Structural Funds in the new member states.
New Tendencies in Competition Between Cities and Regions: Empirical Results from Case Studies in Germany and Austria
Economy and Geography,
It is often discussed that during the last decades, due to several new developments, locational competition at the local and regional scale has changed its appearance and has increased significantly, all over Europe. Modern economic theories are suggesting that some locational factors have become more important than in previous times and might have led to changing conditions for the competition between cities and regions. The intention of the paper is to bring more light into this discussion and to illustrate, with the help of case studies, whether locational competition has really become more intensive, and / or whether new categories of competition have evolved.
The paper is based on the work of an interdisciplinary research group which was initiated and partially financed by the German National Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung, ARL). The paper’s first part is reporting on a survey of recent theoretical and empirical literature on locational competition and has the task to classify the new tendencies systematically. The second part of the paper is presenting the results of case studies, which were carried out in order to find out about the importance of the expected changes in selected cities and regions in Germany and Austria. The main findings may be characterized as follows. For several cities and regions, we found out that the decrease of transportation and transaction costs had positive impacts on local and regional development, as within these cities and regions, industries are concentrated which benefit from technologies which are connected to transportation or transaction costs. Also for some regions, a positive impact of the downsizing of administrative borders was found – although especially in Eastern Germany, the process of catching up was restrained by agglomeration economies in the West. Although the impact of the new categories of locational competition on the economic development of the case cities and regions was, overall, limited, there was an important impact on the creation of new strategies by local and regional policymakers.
Retirement Income Systems in Middle and Eastern Europe: Between Change and Continuity
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
During the process of transition the Middle and Eastern European Countries introduced pension insurance plans on a Pay-as-you-go-basis following the Western European pattern. Rising financing problems caused by increasing unemployment as well as the demographic change led to the awareness of the need of reform. Hence in most of these countries mandatory funded pension schemes were established. This way proved to be costly since the actual active generation has to simultaneously finance both the new capital stock and the pensions of today’s retirees. The financial crisis revealed the vulnerability of funded pension plans. On this background especially Poland and Hungary partly roll back their reforms. In the Czech Republic whose pension plans were not harmed by the financial crisis the government plans to support private pension schemes increasingly. Bearing in mind the recent experiences it is recommendable to build up funded pension schemes very carefully and slowly. A further weakening of pension plans on a Pay-as-you-go basis is not advisable.