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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Financial Constraints on Growth: Comparing the Balkans to Other Transition Economies
Eastern European Economics,
This article applies an adjusted growth diagnostic approach to identify the currently most binding constraint on financing growth in the West Balkan countries. Since this group of economies faces both structural and systemic transformation problems, the original supply-side approach might not be sufficient to detect the most binding constraint. The results of the analysis indicate that the binding constraint on credit and investment growth in the region is the high and increasing share of nonperforming loans, primarily in the household sector, due to policy failures. This article compares the Balkan countries to a group of advanced transition economies. Single-country and panel regressions indicate that demand-side factors do not play a constraining role on growth in the West Balkan countries, but they do in the advanced transition economies.
Censored Fractional Response Model: Estimating Heterogeneous Relative Risk Aversion of European Households
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper estimates relative risk aversion using the observed shares of risky assets and characteristics of households from the Household Finance and Consumption Survey of the European Central Bank. Given that the risky share is a fractional response variable belonging to [0, 1], this paper proposes a censored fractional response estimation method using extremal quantiles to approximate the censoring thresholds. Considering that participation in risky asset markets is costly, I estimate both the heterogeneous relative risk aversion and participation cost using a working sample that includes both risky asset holders and non-risky asset holders by treating the zero risky share as the result of heterogeneous self-censoring. Estimation results show lower participation costs and higher relative risk aversion than what was previously estimated. The estimated median relative risk aversions of eight European countries range from 4.6 to 13.6. However, the results are sensitive to households’ perception of the risky asset market return and volatility.