04.02.2021 • 5/2021
IWH Bankruptcy Update: Wave of bankruptcies in retail and hospitality has yet to materialise as downward trend in statistics continues
The number of reported bankruptcies in Germany fell in January 2021. Furthermore, bankruptcy statistics are anticipated to stay at a low level in coming months, according to the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), which provides monthly statistics on corporate bankruptcies in Germany with its IWH Bankruptcy Update.
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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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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.
25.01.2021 • 2/2021
High public deficits not only due to the pandemic – Medium-term options for fiscal policy
According to the IWH’s medium-term projection, Germany's gross domestic product will grow more slowly between 2020 and 2025 than before, not only because of the pandemic crisis, but also because the work force will decline. The resulting structural public deficits are, if the legal framework remains unchanged, likely to be higher than the debt brake allows. Consolidation measures, especially if they relate to government revenues, entail economic losses in the short term. “There is much to be said, also from a theoretical point of view, for not abolishing the debt brake, but for relaxing it to some extent,” says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department of Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
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16.12.2020 • 26/2020
New wave of infections delays economic recovery in Germany
The lockdown is causing production in Germany to decline at the end of the year. When restrictions will be relaxed again, the recovery is likely to pick up pace only slowly, partly because the temporary reduction in value-added taxes is expiring. In spring, milder temperatures and an increasing portion of the population being vaccinated are likely to support the German economy to expand more strongly. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that gross domestic product will increase by 4.4% in 2021, following a 5% decline in 2020. In East Germany, both the decline and the recovery will be significantly less pronounced.
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High public deficit not only because of Corona - Medium-term options for action for the state
According to the IWH's medium-term projection, Germany's gross domestic product will grow by an average of ½% in price-adjusted terms in the years to 2025, which is 1 percentage point slower than in the period from 2013 to 2019. This is due not only to the sharp slump in 2020, but also to the fact that the labour force will decline noticeably. Government revenues will be expanding much more slowly than in previous years. Even after the pandemic crisis is overcome, the state budget is likely to have a structural deficit of about 2% relative to GDP if the legal framework remains unchanged, and the debt brake will continue to be violated. Consolidation measures to reduce this deficit ratio to ½ % would push production in Germany below the normal rate of capacity utilization. Simulations with the IWH fiscal policy model show that consolidation on the expenditure side would reduce production by less than consolidation on the revenue side. There is much to be said, also from a theoretical point of view, for not abolishing the debt brake, but for relaxing it to some extent.
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