12.01.2024 • 2/2024
Green transition and the debt brake: Implications of additional investment for public finances and private consumption in Germany
The German Climate Protection Act stipulates, among other things, that greenhouse gas emissions in Germany are to be reduced by 65% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The green investments required to achieve this target are likely to amount to around 2.5% of gross domestic product each year. According to the medium-term projection of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), the associated additional government spending on public investment and support measures cannot be financed from projected tax revenues. It is therefore to be expected that the tax burden on households will increase and private consumption will be curbed accordingly, if both the current form of the debt brake and the greenhouse gas reduction targets are maintained.
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Fiscal Policy under the Eyes of Wary Bondholders
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper studies the interaction between fiscal policy and bondholders against the backdrop of high sovereign debt levels. For our analysis, we investigate the case of Italy, a country that has dealt with high public debt levels for a long time, using a Bayesian structural VAR model. We extend a canonical three variable macro mode to include a bond market, consisting of a fiscal rule and a bond demand schedule for long-term government bonds. To identify the model in the presence of political uncertainty and forward-looking investors, we derive an external instrument for bond demand shocks from a novel news ticker data set. Our main results are threefold. First, the interaction between fiscal policy and bondholders’ expectations is critical for the evolution of prices. Fiscal policy reinforces contractionary monetary policy through sustained increases in primary surpluses and investors provide incentives for “passive” fiscal policy. Second, investors’ expectations matter for inflation, and we document a Fisherian response of inflation across all maturities in response to a bond demand shock. Third, domestic politics is critical in the determination of bondholders’ expectations and an increase in the perceived riskiness of sovereign debt increases inflation and thus complicates the task of controlling price growth.
14.12.2023 • 30/2023
Exports and private consumption weak ‒ Germany is waiting for an economic upturn
In the winter of 2023/2024, the German economy is still in a downturn. Parts of industry have lost competitiveness, real incomes have fallen in 2023 due to inflation, and there is uncertainty about the course of fiscal policy. However, rising real incomes and a slight increase in exports should cause a pickup from spring onwards. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) expects gross domestic product (GDP) to fall by 0.3% in 2023 and to expand by 0.5% in 2024 (East Germany: +0.5% and +0.7%). In September, the IWH forecast had assumed a decline of 0.5% for Germany in 2023 and expected growth of 0.9% for the coming year.
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Conditional Macroeconomic Survey Forecasts: Revisions and Errors
Journal of International Money and Finance,
Using data from the European Central Bank's Survey of Professional Forecasters and ECB/Eurosystem staff projections, we analyze the role of ex-ante conditioning variables for macroeconomic forecasts. In particular, we test to which extent the updating and ex-post performance of predictions for inflation, real GDP growth and unemployment are related to beliefs about future oil prices, exchange rates, interest rates and wage growth. While oil price and exchange rate predictions are updated more frequently than macroeconomic forecasts, the opposite is true for interest rate and wage growth expectations. Beliefs about future inflation are closely associated with oil price expectations, whereas expected interest rates are related to predictions of output growth and unemployment. Exchange rate predictions also matter for macroeconomic forecasts, albeit less so than the other variables. With regard to forecast errors, wage growth and GDP growth closely comove, but only during the period when interest rates are at the effective zero lower bound.
28.09.2023 • 25/2023
The downturn in 2023 is milder in East Germany than in Germany as a whole – Implications of the Joint Economic Forecast Autumn 2023 and of Länder data from recent publications of the Statistical Offices
The German economy has been in a downturn for more than a year. In East Germany, however, the economy has been somewhat stronger in the past four quarters: According to the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), East German gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to increase by 0.5% in 2023, while production in Germany as a whole will fall by 0.6%. Next year, expansion rates of 1.3% are forecast in both the east and the west. For 2025, East German gross domestic product is expected to grow by 1.2%, which is slightly slower than in Germany as a whole (1.5%).
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28.09.2023 • 24/2023
Joint Economic Forecast 2/2023: Purchasing power returns ‒ political uncertainty high
According to the Joint Economic Forecast, Germany's gross domestic product declines by 0.6% in 2023. This is a strong downward revision of 0.9 percentage points from the forecast made in spring 2023. "The most important reason for this revision is that industry and private consumption are recovering more slowly than we expected in spring," says Oliver Holtemöller, Vice President and Head of the Macroeconomics Department at the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
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07.09.2023 • 23/2023
The German economy continues its downturn
High inflation, increased interest rates, weak foreign demand and uncertainty among private households and firms are currently weighing on the German economy. In its autumn forecast, the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) expects gross domestic product (GDP) to decline by 0.5% in 2023 and to increase by 0.9% in 2024.
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22.06.2023 • 16/2023
Revival in service sectors, but industrial activity remains weak for the time being
After the recession during winter, the German economy will expand at a moderate pace in the coming quarters and despite higher interest rates, as private consumption will pick up again with slowly declining inflation and increased wage momentum. In its summer forecast, the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) expects gross domestic product to decline by 0.3% in 2023, while growth of 1.7% is forecast for the coming year.
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Competition and Moral Behavior: A Meta-Analysis of Forty-Five Crowd-Sourced Experimental Designs
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS),
Does competition affect moral behavior? This fundamental question has been debated among leading scholars for centuries, and more recently, it has been tested in experimental studies yielding a body of rather inconclusive empirical evidence. A potential source of ambivalent empirical results on the same hypothesis is design heterogeneity—variation in true effect sizes across various reasonable experimental research protocols. To provide further evidence on whether competition affects moral behavior and to examine whether the generalizability of a single experimental study is jeopardized by design heterogeneity, we invited independent research teams to contribute experimental designs to a crowd-sourced project. In a large-scale online data collection, 18,123 experimental participants were randomly allocated to 45 randomly selected experimental designs out of 95 submitted designs. We find a small adverse effect of competition on moral behavior in a meta-analysis of the pooled data. The crowd-sourced design of our study allows for a clean identification and estimation of the variation in effect sizes above and beyond what could be expected due to sampling variance. We find substantial design heterogeneity—estimated to be about 1.6 times as large as the average standard error of effect size estimates of the 45 research designs—indicating that the informativeness and generalizability of results based on a single experimental design are limited. Drawing strong conclusions about the underlying hypotheses in the presence of substantive design heterogeneity requires moving toward much larger data collections on various experimental designs testing the same hypothesis.
The Characteristics and Geographic Distribution of Robot Hubs in U.S. Manufacturing Establishments
American Economic Association Papers and Proceedings,
We use establishment-level data from the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures to study the characteristics and geographic locations of investments in robots. We find that the distribution of robots is highly skewed across locations. Some locations, which we call Robot Hubs, have far more robots than one would expect even after accounting for industry and manufacturing employment. We characterize these Robot Hubs along several industry, demographic, and institutional dimensions. The presences of robot integrators, which specialize in helping manufacturers install robots, and of higher levels of union membership are positively correlated with being a Robot Hub.