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19.04.2018 • 7/2018
Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2018: Germany’s Economic Experts Raise Forecast Slightly
Berlin, 19 April – Germany’s leading economic experts raised their forecasts for 2018 and 2019 slightly in their Spring Joint Economic Forecast released on Thursday in Berlin. They now expect economic growth of 2.2 percent for this year and 2.0 percent for 2019, versus 2.0 percent and 1.8 percent respectively in their autumn forecast. “The German economy is still booming, but the air is getting thinner as unused capacities are shrinking“, notes Timo Wollmershaeuser, ifo Head of Economic Forecasting. Commenting on the new German government’s economic policy, he adds: “It is precisely when the government’s coffers are full that fiscal policy should reflect the implications of its actions for overall economic stability and the sustainability of public finances. The extension of statutory pension benefits outlined in the coalition agreement runs counter to the idea of sustainability.”
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Sign Restrictions, Structural Vector Autoregressions, and Useful Prior Information
This paper makes the following original contributions to the literature. (i) We develop a simpler analytical characterization and numerical algorithm for Bayesian inference in structural vector autoregressions (VARs) that can be used for models that are overidentified, just‐identified, or underidentified. (ii) We analyze the asymptotic properties of Bayesian inference and show that in the underidentified case, the asymptotic posterior distribution of contemporaneous coefficients in an n‐variable VAR is confined to the set of values that orthogonalize the population variance–covariance matrix of ordinary least squares residuals, with the height of the posterior proportional to the height of the prior at any point within that set. For example, in a bivariate VAR for supply and demand identified solely by sign restrictions, if the population correlation between the VAR residuals is positive, then even if one has available an infinite sample of data, any inference about the demand elasticity is coming exclusively from the prior distribution. (iii) We provide analytical characterizations of the informative prior distributions for impulse‐response functions that are implicit in the traditional sign‐restriction approach to VARs, and we note, as a special case of result (ii), that the influence of these priors does not vanish asymptotically. (iv) We illustrate how Bayesian inference with informative priors can be both a strict generalization and an unambiguous improvement over frequentist inference in just‐identified models. (v) We propose that researchers need to explicitly acknowledge and defend the role of prior beliefs in influencing structural conclusions and we illustrate how this could be done using a simple model of the U.S. labor market.
Institutionelle Defizite und wachsende Spannungen in der Euro-Zone
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
The introduction of the Euro was certainly a success. Nevertheless, behind this success one may find some increasing asymmetries and imbalances across member countries, which may undermine the stability of the common currency in the long run. Tensions include the paralysis of fiscal policy, increasing divergence in per capita income, a high volatility of real state prices, and diverging unit labour cost developments. The given forms of macroeconomic coordination seem not to be appropriate to mitigate the problems. Obviously, countries can compete with wage policy only after currencies and their exchange rates were abolished, and the use of fiscal policy has been restricted. In particular, Germany and Austria were successful in competitive wage policy, while countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, and also France did not yet use the competitiveness channel. Germany was able to reduce its unit labour costs more than other countries by labour market reforms and higher indirect taxes in replacing social taxes. However, the advantage may proof to be temporary only, for other countries will be forced to follow the German example. Given an ECB inflation target of 2 %, more competitive wage policy in the Euro area might jeopardize the stability of the currency through deflation and higher unemployment. It does not wonder that the discussion on other and new forms of macroeconomic coordination revived recently. This debate does not only include the introduction of a central EU budget with anti-cyclical effects, but also forms of direct and indirect coordination of national wage policies. In any case, it would be useful to oblige national wage policies to obey the common interest of the Union.
What can a town achieve today? Integration, urban regimes, and the acceptance of models
IWH Discussion Papers,
Since 1990, the date of German reunification, urban development and especially the recovery of inner cities in East Germany has been delayed by several factors including real estate restitution claims, inflexible preservation codes for historic buildings, and the shortage of stores for retailers. This blockade situation has resulted in the quick and intensified development of shopping centres as „inner city substitutes“ on the urban periphery. The combined effect of the factors preventing revitalisation strategies and the newly realised and practised potential for autonomous action by the authorities of smaller municipalities was a severe restriction for the governing capacities of the authorities of the larger cities. in regaining their governance capability city governments are dependent on urban groups joining and supporting public developmental strategies. In accordance with Stone (1993) and Stoker and Mossberger (1994) urban groups active in urban development policy can be described as urban regimes. In Germany three types of regimes can be differentiated. The cities differ with respect to the political strength and the forms of coalition and conflict between different urban regimes. Specific conditions in East Germany have led to a special regime constellation with a powerful „conservation regime“ on the one hand and a vivid „globalisation regime“ on the other hand. This conflicting constellation results in a developmental blockade. The hypothesis is that a third regime type, the „local alliance“, is missing and still has to be created by practices such as city marketing and city management. Only when this regime building process has advanced will new constellations of political coalitions and compromise become possible and be able to reduce governance problems of city government in the long run.