17.03.2022 • 6/2022
Price shock jeopardises recovery of German economy
Russia’s war in Ukraine is hitting the German economy primarily via an energy price shock, but also by disrupting trade flows and causing general uncertainty. At the same time, however, the economy is receiving a strong boost from the lifting of many pandemic restrictions. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that gross domestic product will increase by 3.1% in 2022. The consumer price index will be 4.8% higher than one year ago. The war affects the East German eco-nomy about as hard as the economy in Germany as a whole.
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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.
Macro data interactive
Macro data interactive This service provides time series from official publications (Statistisches Bundesamt [German Federal Statistical Office], Arbeitskreis...
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Income and savings
Income and savings Primary income of the private households The primary income of the private households (including private non-profit organisations) includes the income...
03.05.2016 • 20/2016
Are Lacking Structural Reforms in the Financial Sector the Underlying Reason for the German Criticism of the ECB?
The major reason for the intense criticism of the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) low-interest-rate policy may be the lack of structural reforms in the German banking system. The resulting persistent fragmentation increases the banking sector’s vulnerability to the low-interest-rate environment. Hence, parts of the banking sector, due to their strong ties to politicians, appear to have successfully influenced public opinion against the ECB.
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24.09.2015 • 38/2015
German Households Benefit from Low Interest Environment
Calculations of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association show that the average household in Germany has benefited from the low policy rate environment. The average return on their portfolio was higher than in the pre-crisis period while at the same time, they benefited from lower interest on new loans. Households in Germany had a total Euro benefit of more than 364 billion Euro over a five-year period relative to 2003 to 2007. Increases in stock prices and real estate prices over-compensate lower interest rates on savings accounts, despite their relatively low share in households’ portfolios. There are benefits across the income distribution. Households that do not own real estate lost though, but their losses are very small at on average about 100 Euro per year.
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Energy Efficiency of the Housing Stock: Are potential savings overrated?
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
A core element of the European Climate Protection Policy is the reduction of Energy usage in private households. Legal instruments focus particularly on private multifamily housing. When refurbishing or building a new home, the German regulation for energy saving in buildings and building systems, Energieeinsparverordnung (EnEV 2009), thereby formulates relatively strict standards on energy conservation. But these standards mainly address the technical potentials of energy efficiency gains instead of considering market conditions and different types of housing, especially their age. Theory suggests that legal settings therefore retain owners to refurbish their homes, when returns on investment are negative, especially in regions where market conditions do not allow for higher rents or the costs of refurbishment are too high.
The article presents evidence for these theoretical considerations: based on a large scale sample provided by the company ista Germany, it can be shown, that energy usage differs by the age of dwellings and by the standard of refurbishment. Data suggests that the assumed potentials of energy conservation, which are mainly motivated by technical considerations, are too high. The differences may be a result of different cost functions of refurbishment. Further evidence for this finding is provided by architectural considerations.
As a result, the article suggests to legally distinguishing between different types of housing and to consider market conditions, when providing public funding for energy efficiency. It is suggested to implement a two multidimensional strategy, considering climate protection, urban development issues and the rationality of real estate investors.