Asymmetric Investment Responses to Firm-specific Forecast Errors
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper analyses how firm-specific forecast errors derived from survey data of German manufacturing firms over 2007–2011 affect firms’ investment propensity. Understanding how forecast errors affect firm investment behaviour is key to mitigate economic downturns during and after crisis periods in which forecast errors tend to increase. Our findings reveal a negative impact of absolute forecast errors on investment. Strikingly, asymmetries arise depending on the size and direction of the forecast error. The investment propensity declines if the realised situation is worse than expected. However, firms do not adjust investment if the realised situation is better than expected suggesting that the uncertainty component of the forecast error counteracts positive effects of unexpectedly favorable business conditions. Given that the fraction of firms making positive forecast errors is higher after the peak of the recent financial crisis, this mechanism can be one explanation behind staggered economic growth and slow recovery following crises.
12.03.2020 • 4/2020
Global economy under the spell of the coronavirus epidemic
The epidemic is obstructing the economic recovery in Germany. Foreign demand is falling, private households forgo domestic consumption if it comes with infection risk, and investments are postponed. Assuming that the spread of the disease can be contained in short time, GDP growth in 2020 is expected to be 0.6% according to IWH spring economic forecast. Growth in East Germany is expected to be 0.9% and thus higher than in West Germany. If the number of new infections cannot be decreased in short time, we expect a recession in Germany.
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Comparing Financial Transparency between For-profit and Nonprofit Suppliers of Public Goods: Evidence from Microfinance
Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money,
Previous research finds market financing is favored over relationship financing in environments of better governance, since the transaction costs to investors of vetting asymmetric information are thereby reduced. For industries supplying public goods, for-profits rely on market financing, while nonprofits rely on relationships with donors. This suggests that for-profits will be more inclined than nonprofits to improve financial transparency. We examine the impact of for-profit versus nonprofit status on the financial transparency of firms engaged with supplying public goods. There are relatively few industries that have large number of both for-profit and nonprofit firms across countries. However, the microfinance industry provides the opportunity of a large number of both for-profit and nonprofit firms in relatively equal numbers, across a wide array of countries. Consistent with our prediction, we find that financial transparency is positively associated with a for-profit status. Results will be of broad interest both to scholars interested in the roles of transparency and transaction costs on market versus relational financing; as well as to policy makers interested in the impact of for-profit on the supply of public goods, and on the microfinance industry in particular.
12.12.2019 • 24/2019
Global economy slowly gains momentum – but Germany still stuck in a downturn
In 2020, the global economy is likely to benefit from the recent thaw in trade disputes. Germany’s manufacturing sector, however, will recover only slowly. “In 2020, the German economy will probably grow at a rate of 1.1%, and adjusted for the unusually high number of working days the growth rate will only be 0.7%”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). With an estimated growth rate of 1.3%, production in East Germany will outpace total German production growth.
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Private Debt, Public Debt, and Capital Misallocation
IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers,
Does finance facilitate efficient allocation of resources? Our aim in this paper is to find out whether increases in private and public indebtedness affect capital misallocation, which is measured as the dispersion in the return to capital across firms in different industries. For this, we use a novel dataset containing industrylevel data for 18 European countries and control for different macroeconomic indicators as potential determinants of capital misallocation. We exploit the within-country variation across industries in such indicators as external finance dependence, technological intensity, credit constraints and competitive structure, and find that private debt accumulation disproportionately increases capital misallocation in industries with higher financial dependence, higher R&D intensity, a larger share of credit-constrained firms and a lower level of competition. On the other hand, we fail to find any significant and robust effect of public debt on capital misallocation within our country-sector pairs. We believe the distortionary effects of private debt found in our analysis needs a deeper theoretical investigation.
05.09.2019 • 18/2019
Downturn in Germany continues
Trade disputes are causing international trade in goods to decline this year. The manufacturing industry in Germany is particularly affected by this. However, a robust labour market is supporting the economy. According to IWH autumn economic forecast, German gross domestic product (GDP) will increase by 0.5% in 2019. At 1%, output growth in East Germany is likely to be significantly higher than in West Germany.
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East Germany Three Decades After the Wall Came Down: What has Been Achieved and What Should Economic Policy Do?
The persistent difference in productivity between East and West Germany not only results from the relative absence of large firms based in the East as many believe. Companies of all sizes exhibit an East-West productivity gap. The gap is larger in urban regions. Scarcity of skilled labour has emerged as the new barrier to business development. In order to boost productivity, economic policy should avoid additional subsidies that are conditional on creating jobs. Additionally, the potential of East German urban areas should be better explored. Mitigating the shortage in qualified workers requires in-migration of skilled labour from abroad, supported by an open mindset and environment.
Fiscal Policy and Fiscal Fragility: Empirical Evidence from the OECD
IWH Discussion Papers,
In this paper, we use local projections to investigate the impact of consolidation shocks on GDP growth, conditional on the fragility of government finances. Based on a database of fiscal plans in OECD countries, we show that spending shocks are less detrimental than tax-based consolidation. In times of fiscal fragility, our results indicate strongly that governments should consolidate through surprise policy changes rather than announcements of consolidation at a later horizon.
Launch of IWH Bankruptcy Update From now on, the IWH provides a monthly update on corporate bankruptcy in Germany. It is...
The CompNet Competitiveness Database The Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet)...