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.
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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Do Digital Information Technologies Help Unemployed Job Seekers Find a Job? Evidence from the Broadband Internet Expansion in Germany
European Economic Review,
This paper studies effects of the introduction of a new digital mass medium on reemployment of unemployed job seekers. We combine data on high-speed (broadband) internet availability at the local level with German individual register data. We address endogeneity by exploiting technological peculiarities that affected the roll-out of high-speed internet. The results show that high-speed internet improves reemployment rates after the first months in unemployment. This is confirmed by complementary analyses with individual survey data suggesting that internet access increases online job search and the number of job interviews after a few months in unemployment.
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.
Involuntary Unemployment and the Business Cycle
Review of Economic Dynamics,
Can a model with limited labor market insurance explain standard macro and labor market data jointly? We construct a monetary model in which: i) the unemployed are worse off than the employed, i.e. unemployment is involuntary and ii) the labor force participation rate varies with the business cycle. To illustrate key features of our model, we start with the simplest possible framework. We then integrate the model into a medium-sized DSGE model and show that the resulting model does as well as existing models at accounting for the response of standard macroeconomic variables to monetary policy shocks and two technology shocks. In addition, the model does well at accounting for the response of the labor force and unemployment rate to these three shocks.
Wages and the Value of Nonemployment
Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Nonemployment is often posited as a worker’s outside option in wage-setting models such as bargaining and wage posting. The value of nonemployment is therefore a key determinant of wages. We measure the wage effect of changes in the value of nonemployment among initially employed workers. Our quasi-experimental variation in the value of nonemployment arises from four large reforms of unemployment insurance (UI) benefit levels in Austria. We document that wages are insensitive to UI benefit changes: point estimates imply a wage response of less than $0.01 per $1.00 UI benefit increase, and we can reject sensitivities larger than $0.03. The insensitivity holds even among workers with low wages and high predicted unemployment duration, and among job switchers hired out of unemployment. The insensitivity of wages to the nonemployment value presents a puzzle to the widely used Nash bargaining model, which predicts a sensitivity of $0.24–$0.48. Our evidence supports wage-setting models that insulate wages from the value of nonemployment.
14.10.2020 • 22/2020
Economic slump in East Germany not as severe as in Germany as a whole ‒ Implications of the Joint Economic Forecast and new data for East Germany
The German economy started recovering quickly after the drastic pandemic-related slump in spring 2020. The recovery, however, loses much of its momentum in the second half of the year. The Joint Economic Forecast predicts that production levels seen before the crisis will not be reached again until the second half of 2021. In principle, the East German economy is following this pattern, although the economic slump is likely to be somewhat milder.
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14.10.2020 • 21/2020
Recovery Loses Momentum ‒ Economy and Politics Still Shaped by the Pandemic
The corona pandemic leaves substantial marks in the German economy and its impact is more persistent than assumed in spring. In their autumn report, the leading German economic research institutes have revised their economic outlook downwards by roughly one percentage point for both this and next year. They now expect gross domestic product to fall by 5.4% in 2020 (previously -4.2%) and to grow by 4.7% (5.8%) in 2021 and 2.7% in 2022.
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