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Economic Transition in Unified Germany and Implications for Korea
H.-G. Jeong and G. Heimpold (eds.): Economic Transition in Unified Germany and Implications for Korea. Policy References 17-13. Sejong: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy,
The reunification of Germany, which marked the end of the Cold War in the 20th century, is regarded as one of the most exemplary cases of social integration in human history. Nearly three decades after the German reunification, the economic and social shocks that occurred at the beginning of the reunification process have largely been resolved. Moreover, the unified Germany has grown into one of the most advanced economies in the world.
The unification process that Germany underwent may not necessarily be the way that the Republic of Korea would choose. However, the economic and social exchanges between East and West Germany prior to unification, and the cooperation in a myriad of policies based on these exchanges, served as the crucial foundation for unification. The case of Germany will surely help us find a better way for the re-unification of the Korean Peninsula.
In this context, this is the first edition of a joint research which provides diverse insights on social and economic issues during the process of unification. It consists of nine chapters whose main topics include policies on macroeconomic stabilization, the privatization of state-owned enterprises in East Germany, labor policies and the migration of labor, integration of the social safety nets of the North and South, and securing finances for reunification. To start with, the first part covers macroeconomic stabilization measures, which include policies implemented by the federal government of Germany to overcome macroeconomic shocks directly after the reunification. There was a temporary setback in the economy at the initial phase of reunification as the investment per GDP went down and the level of fiscal debt escalated, reverting to its original trend prior to the reunification. While it appears the momentum for growth was compromised by reunification from the perspective of growth rate of real GDP, this state did not last long and benefits have outpaced the costs since 2000.
In the section which examines the privatization of state-owned enterprises in East Germany, an analysis was conducted on the modernization of industrial infrastructure of East German firms. There was a surge in investment in East German area at the beginning stages but this was focused on a specific group of firms. Most of the firms were privatized through unofficial channels, with a third of these conducted in a management buy-out (MBO) process that was highly effective. Further analysis of a firm called Jenoptik, which was successfully bailed out, is incorporated as to draw implications of its accomplishments.
In the section on migration, we examine how the gap between the unemployment rates in the West and East have narrowed as the population flow shifted from the West to East. Consequently, there was no significant deviation in terms of the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) per capita in each state of East Germany. However, as the labor market stabilized in East Germany and population flows have weakened, the deviation will become larger. Meanwhile, if we make a prediction about the movement of population between the North and the South, which show a remarkable difference in their economic circumstances, a radical reunification process such as Germany’s case would force 7% of the population of the North to move towards the South. Upon reunification, the estimated unemployment rate in North Korea would remain at least 30% for the time being. In order to reduce the initial unemployment rate, it is crucial to design a program that trains the unemployed and to build a system that predicts changes in labor demand.
It seems nearly impossible to apply the social safety nets of the South to the North, as there is a systemic difference in ideologies. Taking steps toward integration would be the most suitable option in the case of the Koreas. We propose to build a sound groundwork for stabilizing the interest rates and exchange rates, maintain stable fiscal policies, raise momentum for economic growth and make sure people understand the means required to financially support the North in order to reduce the gap between the two.
This book was jointly organized and edited by Dr. Hyung-gon Jeong of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) and Dr. Gerhard Heimpold of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). We believe that this report, which examines numerous social and economic agendas that emerged during the reunification of Germany, will provide truly important reference for both Koreas. It is also our view that it will serve as a stepping-stone to establish policies in regard to South-North exchanges across numerous sectors prior to discussions of reunification. KIEP will continue to work with IWH and contribute its expertise to the establishment of grounds for unification policies.
The Role of Investment Banking for the German Economy: Final Report for Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt/Main
ZEW-Dokumentationen, Nr. 12-01,
The aim of this study is to assess the contributions of investment banking to the economy with a particular focus on the German economy. To this end we analyse both the economic benefits and the costs stemming from investment banking.
The study focuses on investment banks as this part of banking is particularly relevant for financing companies as well as the development and use of specific products to support the needs of private and professional clients. The assessment of benefits and costs of investment banking has been conducted from a European perspective. Nevertheless there is a focus on the German economy to allow a more detailed analysis of certain aspects as for example the use of derivatives by German companies, the success of M&As in Germany or the effect of securitization on loan supply and GDP in Germany. For comparison purposes other European countries and also the U.S. have been taken into account.
The last financial crisis has shown the negative impacts of banks on the financial system and the whole economy. In a study on the contribution of investment banks to systemic risk we quantify the negative side of the investment banking business.
In the last part of the study we assess how the effects of regulatory changes on investment banking. All important changes in banking and capital market regulation are taken into account such as Basel III, additional capital requirements for systemically important financial institutions, regulation of OTC derivatives and specific taxes.
Can Korea Learn from German Unification?
IWH Discussion Papers,
We first analyze pre-unification similarities and differences between the two Germanys and the two Koreas in terms of demographic, social, political and economic status. An important issue is the degree of international openness. “Stone-age” type communism of North Korea and the seclusion of the population prevented inner-Korean contacts and contacts with rest of the world. This may create enormous adjustment costs if institutions, especially informal institutions, change. We go on by showing how transition and integration interact in a potential unification process based on the World Bank Revised Minimum Standard Model (RMSM) and on the Salter-Swan-Meade model. In doing so, we relate the macro and external impacts on an open economy to its macro-sectoral structural dynamics. The findings suggest that it is of utmost importance to relate microeconomic policies to the macroeconomic ties and side conditions for both parts of the country. Evidence from Germany suggests that the biggest general error in unification was neglecting these limits, especially limitations to policy instruments. Econometric analysis supports these findings. In the empirical part, we consider unification as an “investment” and track down the (by-and-large immediate to medium-term) costs and the (by-and-large long-term) benefits of retooling a retarded communist economy. We conclude that, from a South-Korean
perspective, the Korean unification will become relatively much more expensive than the German unification and, thus, not only economic, but to a much larger degree political considerations must include the tying of neighboring countries into the convergence process. We finally provide, 62 years after Germany’s division and 20 years after unification, an outlook on the strength of economic inertia in order to show that it may take much more than a generation to compensate the damage inflicted by the communist system.
Economic Effects of Investment Grants for Water and Sewerage Infrastructure – The Case of Saxony
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
The article deals with the regional economic growth effects of the German “Joint Scheme” for the improvement of regional economic structures (“GA-Infra”). It focuses on water and sewerage projects located in the federal state of Saxony (Germany) during the funding period 2000-2007. Evaluating these projects is important for scientific as well as for economic policy reasons.
First of all, according to general economic theory, the potential direct and indirect supply-side effects of the water and sewerage infrastructure as well as the price effects caused by this infrastructure are relevant for location decisions only to certain branches of the manufacturing industry.
Subsidies for the development of the sewerage infrastructure have been granted mostly according to the growth target of regional policy, i.e. primarily to municipalities with above-average volumes of industry sewage. This finding could not be confirmed for water provision.
A regression analysis (estimating the labour demand of the local manufacturing industry) showed no empirical evidence for any relationship between the changes in labour demand and the amount of GA-Infra funded water and sewerage infrastructure investments. This might be a consequence of the already satisfactory development condition of the infrastructure in question at the beginning of the funding period (“ubiquitous infrastructure”).
According to a survey of local governments conducted by the IWH, these results might be explained by the fact that business customers did not benefit from price reductions despite the GA-Infra funding granted to their local water and sewage disposal providers. Even though there might be some intuitively plausible reasons (decreasing population, no connection fees) for these findings, no effect on firm location decisions can be expected under these circumstances.
All in all, we do not consider the further extension of these funding priorities to be necessary. Especially, the GA-Infra water/sewerage grants should neither be used to mitigate the cost effects of demographic changes or regulation nor to compensate for losses caused by the buyer power of large firms.