The maths behind gut decisions First carefully weigh up the costs and benefits and then make a rational...
15.06.2021 • 16/2021
Increase in personal contacts spurs economic activity
This summer the economic outlook in Germany is bright. As the pandemic is in retreat, the restrictions that have hampered many service activities are likely to be gradually lifted, and a strong boost in private purchases can be expected. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that gross domestic product will increase by 3.9% in 2021 and by 4.0% in 2022. Production in East Germany is expected to increase by 3% in both years, respectively.
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Conditional Macroeconomic Forecasts: Disagreement, Revisions and Forecast Errors
IWH Discussion Papers,
Using data from the European Central Bank‘s Survey of Professional Forecasters, we analyse the role of ex-ante conditioning variables for macroeconomic forecasts. In particular, we test to which extent the heterogeneity, updating and ex-post performance of predictions for inflation, real GDP growth and the unemployment rate are related to assumptions about future oil prices, exchange rates, interest rates and wage growth. Our findings indicate that inflation forecasts are closely associated with oil price expectations, whereas expected interest rates are used primarily to predict output growth and unemployment. Expectations about exchange rates and wage growth also matter for macroeconomic forecasts, albeit less so than oil prices and interest rates. We show that survey participants can considerably improve forecast accuracy for macroeconomic outcomes by reducing prediction errors for external conditions. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the expectation formation process of experts.
15.04.2021 • 12/2021
Economy in East Germany shrank less than in the West, but will have weaker momentum when pandemic disappears – Implications of the Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2021 and new data for East Germany
At 3%, the increase in gross domestic product in eastern Germany in 2021 is likely to be lower than in Germany as a whole (3.7%), as the slump due to the pandemic was smaller in 2020. In the course of the economic recovery in the second half of the year, the unemployment rate is expected to fall slightly.
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15.04.2021 • 11/2021
Pandemic delays upswing – Demography slows growth
In their spring report, the leading economic research institutes forecast an increase in gross domestic product of 3.7% in the current year and 3.9% in 2022. The renewed shutdown is delaying the economic recovery, but as soon as the risks of infection, particularly from vaccination, have been averted, a strong recovery will begin. The economy is likely to return to normal output levels around the start of the coming year.
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(Since when) are East and West German Business Cycles Synchronised?
Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik,
We analyze whether, and since when, East and West German business cycles are synchronised. We investigate real GDP, unemployment rates and survey data as business cycle indicators and we employ several empirical methods. Overall, we find that the regional business cycles have synchronised over time. GDP-based indicators and survey data show a higher degree of synchronisation than the indicators based on unemployment rates. However, synchronisation among East and West German business cycles seems to have become weaker again recently.
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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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Why Are Households Saving so much During the Corona Recession?
IWH Policy Notes,
Savings rates among European households have reached record levels during the Corona recession. We investigate three possible explanations for the increase in household savings: precautionary motivations induced by increased economic uncertainty, reduced consumption opportunities due to lockdown measures, and Ricardian Equivalence, i.e. increases in the expected future tax-burden of households driven by increases in government debt. To test these explanations, we compile a monthly panel of euro area countries from January 2019 to August 2020. Our findings indicate that the chief driver of the increase in household savings is supply: As governments restrict households’ opportunities to spend, households spend less. We estimate that going from no lockdown measures to that of Italy’s in March, would have resulted in the growth of Germany’s deposit to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio being 0.6 percentage points higher each month. This would be equivalent to the volume of deposits increasing by roughly 14.3 billion euros or 348 euros per house monthly. Demand effects, driven by either fears of unemployment or fear of infection from COVID-19, appear to only have a weak impact on household savings, whereas changes in government debt are unrelated or even negatively related to savings rates. The analysis suggests that there is some pent-up demand for consumption that may unravel after lockdown measures are abolished and may result in a significant increase in consumption in the late spring/early summer 2021.