Asymmetric Investment Responses to Firm-specific Forecast Errors
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper analyses how firm-specific forecast errors derived from survey data of German manufacturing firms over 2007–2011 affect firms’ investment propensity. Understanding how forecast errors affect firm investment behaviour is key to mitigate economic downturns during and after crisis periods in which forecast errors tend to increase. Our findings reveal a negative impact of absolute forecast errors on investment. Strikingly, asymmetries arise depending on the size and direction of the forecast error. The investment propensity declines if the realised situation is worse than expected. However, firms do not adjust investment if the realised situation is better than expected suggesting that the uncertainty component of the forecast error counteracts positive effects of unexpectedly favorable business conditions. Given that the fraction of firms making positive forecast errors is higher after the peak of the recent financial crisis, this mechanism can be one explanation behind staggered economic growth and slow recovery following crises.
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13.12.2018 • 21/2018
Economic activity in the world and in Germany is losing momentum
In the second half of 2018, the upturn of the German economy has stalled. Production of the automotive industry declined because of delays in switching production to WLTP compliant cars. Irrespectively of this, the German export business has been weakening since the beginning of the year, since the global economy, burdened by the political uncertainties surrounding trade conflicts, the impending Brexit and the conflict over the Italian budget, was unable to keep up with the high momentum of 2017. “It is to be expected that the less benign external environment will not only dampen exports, but will also impact on companies’ investment and hiring decisions”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). Gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.5% in 2018 and by 1.4% in 2019, which is roughly equal to the growth rate of economic capacity in Germany.
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IWH at 2020 ASSA Annual Meeting in San Diego
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