02.09.2016 • 35/2016
The German Economy: Still Robust Despite Sliding Sentiment
The prospects for the German economy are still quite favorable. While sentiment indicators suggest that growth will slow at the end of the year, domestic demand will continue on an upward trend. The German GDP should increase by 1.9% in 2016. For 2017 we expect a lower growth rate of 1.2%“Weaker export volumes and higher growth of imports are the relevant factors for the slowdown”, says Prof Oliver Holtemöller, IWH Vice president. Unemployment will rise a bit as more refugees enter the labor market. Consumer price inflation remains moderate. The general government balance (cyclically ad¬justed as well as unadjusted) will be in surplus in both 2016 and 2017.
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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.
03.05.2016 • 20/2016
Are Lacking Structural Reforms in the Financial Sector the Underlying Reason for the German Criticism of the ECB?
The major reason for the intense criticism of the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) low-interest-rate policy may be the lack of structural reforms in the German banking system. The resulting persistent fragmentation increases the banking sector’s vulnerability to the low-interest-rate environment. Hence, parts of the banking sector, due to their strong ties to politicians, appear to have successfully influenced public opinion against the ECB.
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Abnormal Real Operations, Real Earnings Management, and Subsequent Crashes in Stock Prices
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting,
We study the impact of firms’ abnormal business operations on their future crash risk in stock prices. Computed based on real earnings management (REM) models, firms’ deviation in real operations (DROs) from industry norms is shown to be positively associated with their future crash risk. This association is incremental to that between discretionary accruals (DAs) and crash risk found by prior studies. Moreover, after Sarbanes–Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002, DRO’s predictive power for crash risk strengthens substantially, while DA’s predictive power essentially dissipates. These results are consistent with the prior finding that managers shift from accrual earnings management to REM after SOX. We further develop a suspect-firm approach to capture firms’ use of DRO for REM purposes. This analysis shows that REM-firms experience a significant increase in crash risk in the following year. These findings suggest that the impact of DRO on crash risk is at least partially through REM.
Spinoffs in Germany: Characteristics, Survival, and the Role of their Parents
Small Business Economics,
Using a 50 % sample of all private sector establishments in Germany, we report that spinoffs are larger, initially employ more skilled and more experienced workers, and pay higher wages than other startups. We investigate whether spinoffs are more likely to survive than other startups, and whether spinoff survival depends on the quality and size of their parent companies, as suggested in some of the theoretical and empirical literature. Our estimated survival models confirm that spinoffs are generally less likely to exit than other startups. We also distinguish between pulled spinoffs, where the parent company continues after they are founded, and pushed spinoffs, where the parent company stops operations. Our results indicate that in western and eastern Germany and in all sectors investigated, pulled spinoffs have a higher probability of survival than pushed spinoffs. Concerning the parent connection, we find that intra-industry spinoffs and spinoffs emerging from better-performing or smaller parent companies are generally less likely to exit.
Bank Market Power, Factor Reallocation, and Aggregate Growth
Journal of Financial Stability,
Using a unique firm-level sample of approximately 700,000 firm-year observations of German small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this study seeks to identify the effect of bank market power on aggregate growth components. We test for a pre-crisis sample whether bank market power spurs or hinders the reallocation of resources across informationally opaque firms. Identification relies on the dependence on external finance in each industry and the regional demarcation of regional banking markets in Germany. The results show that bank markups spur aggregate SME growth, primarily through technical change and the reallocation of resources. Banks seem to need sufficient markups to generate the necessary private information to allocate financial funds efficiently.
Entry into Entrepreneurship, Endogenous Adaption of Risk Attitudes and Entrepreneurial Survival
Empirical studies use the assumption of stability in individual risk attitudes when searching for a relationship between attitude to risk and the decision to become and survive as an entrepreneur. We show that risk attitudes do not remain stable but face endogenous adaption when starting a new business. This adaption is associated with entrepreneurial survival. The results show that entrepreneurs with low risk tolerance before entering self-employment and increased risk tolerance when self-employed have a higher probability of survival than similar entrepreneurs experiencing a decrease in the willingness to take risks. We find the opposite results for entrepreneurs who express a higher willingness to take risks before becoming self-employed: in this case, a decrease in tolerance of risk is correlated with an increasing survival probability.