16.12.2015 • 45/2015
German Economy: Strong domestic demand compensates for weak exports
The upturn of the German economy is expected to gain further momentum as a consequence of strong domestic demand. Real gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.6% in 2016. Consumer prices are expected to rise by 0.9%. Unemployment is expected to rise slightly because it will take time to integrate refugees into the labour market.
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10.08.2015 • 30/2015
Germany Benefited Substantially from the Greek Crisis
The balanced budget in Germany is largely the result of lower interest payments due to the European debt crisis. Research from the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association shows that the debt crisis resulted in a reduction in German bund rates of about 300 basis points (BP), yielding interest savings of more than EUR 100 billion (or more than 3% of gross domestic product, GDP) during the period 2010 to 2015. A significant part of this reduction is directly attributable to the Greek crisis. When discussing the costs to the German tax payer of saving Greece, these benefits should not be overlooked, as they tend to be larger than the expenses, even in a scenario where Greece does not repay any of its debts.
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On the Twin Deficits Hypothesis and the Import Intensity in Transition Countries
International Economics and Economic Policy,
This article aims to explain the increasing deficits in the trade and current account balances of three post-transition countries–Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland–by testing two hypotheses: the twin deficit hypothesis and increasing import intensity of export production. The method uses co-integration and related techniques to test for a long-run causal relationship between the fiscal and external deficits of three post-transition countries in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition, an import intensity model is tested by applying OLS and GMM. All the results reject the Twin Deficits Hypothesis. Instead, the results demonstrate that specific transition factors such as net capital flows and, probably, a high import intensity of exports affect the trade balance.
The Euro Plus Pact: Competitiveness and External Capital Flows in the EU Countries
Journal of Common Market Studies,
The Euro Plus Pact was approved by the European Union countries in March 2011. The pact stipulates various measures to strengthen competitiveness with the ultimate aim of preventing accumulation of unsustainable external imbalances. This article uses Granger causality tests to assess the short-term linkages between changes in relative unit labour costs and changes in the current account balance for the period 1995–2011. The main finding is that changes in the current account balance precede changes in relative unit labour costs, while there is no discernible effect in the opposite direction. This suggests that capital flows from the European core to the periphery contributed to the divergence in unit labour costs across Europe prior to the global financial crisis. The results also suggest that the measures to restrain unit labour costs may have only limited effect on the current account balance in the short term.
Determinants of Foreign Technological Activity in German Regions – A Count Model Analysis of Transnational Patents
Most research on R&D internationalisation focuses on comparative analysis of location factors at the national level of analysis. Very little work, however, has taken place in this field for the sub-national regional location behavior of multi-national enterprises (MNE). The paper contributes to the existing research by providing evidence on the determinants of foreign technological activities at the sub-national level for Germany, which hosts the largest share of foreign R&D within the EU27 and features the highest cross-regional dispersion of patented research. Using a pooled count data model, we estimate the effect of various sources for externalities on the extent of foreign technological activity across regions. Particular attention is paid to the role of local knowledge spillovers, technological specialization and diversification. We differentiate foreign and domestic sources of specialisation and account for region and sector-specific influences. This is the first time that the ‘cross-border-ownership’ principle to measure R&D internationalisation is combined with regionalised patent information.
To verify our findings we develop hypotheses. In particular, we expect and find that foreign technological activity is attracted by technologically specialised sectors of regions. In contrast to current empirical work, this effect applies both to foreign as well as domestic sources of specialization, although effects on foreign specialization seem more significant. We expect and find the same for science-industry spillovers. We postulate a negative impact of domestic specialization on foreign technological activities and a strong positive effect from diversificationspillovers, by comparison with specialisation spillovers, but these hypotheses are rejected. We find that the direction of the specialisation effect depends on dominance in the position of domestic firms as well as on the balance of knowledge flows between them and foreign actors.
A Macroeconomist’s View on EU Governance Reform: Why and How to Establish Policy Coordination?
This paper discusses the need for macroeconomic policy coordination in the E(M)U. Coordination of national policies with cross-border effects does not exist at the macroeconomic level, although requested by the EU Treaty. The need for coordination stems from current account imbalances, which origin in market-induced capital flows, destabilizing the real exchange rates between low and high wage countries. The recent attempts of the Commission and the European Council to reform E(M)U governance do not address this problem and thus remain incapable to protect against future instability.
Macroeconomic Adjustment: The Baltic States versus Euro Area Crisis Countries
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have succeeded in rapidly reducing their current account deficits despite fixed exchange rates. Which factors have played a major role in this? What similarities, and what differences, do the Baltic states show compared to Greece and Portugal? What insights can be gained for the political debate on the euro area debt crisis?
Size is not everything – The efficiency of municipal service provision in Saxony-Anhalt
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
The proponents of municipal area reforms – e.g. the recently completed reform in Saxony-Anhalt – expect that municipal amalgamations or centralized organizational forms save costs or increase the efficiency of local public service provision. This article examines the potential efficiency deficits of Saxony-Anhalt´s fragmented municipal structures on the eve of the crucial phase of the municipal reform. The results of a two-step DEA bootstrap procedure show that decentralized municipalities (“Verwaltungsgemeinschaften”) do not have to be significantly less efficient than centralized municipalities (“Einheitsgemeinden”). Furthermore, the results of the scale efficiency analysis suggest that the majority of Saxony-Anhalt´s communities already had an approximately efficient “firm size” – if the aggregated level of the municipal associations is examined. The relationship between scale efficiency and population is U-shaped. On the one hand, the results do not support the preservation of micro-municipalities or the formation of municipal associations with more than ten members. On the other hand, the results provide also no evidence for the necessity to reduce the number of towns and municipalities in Saxony-Anhalt from 1118 in 2004 to currently 219 – even if the looming population decline is taken into account.