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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Macroeconomic Effects from Sovereign Risk vs. Knightian Uncertainty
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper compares macroeconomic effects of Knightian uncertainty and risk using policy shocks for the case of Italy. Drawing on the ambiguity literature, I use changes in the bid-ask spread and mid-price of government bonds as distinct measures for uncertainty and risk. The identification exploits the quasi-pessimistic behavior under ambiguity-aversion and the dealer market structure of government bond markets, where dealers must quote both sides of the market. If uncertainty increases, ambiguity-averse dealers will quasi-pessimistically quote higher ask and lower bid prices – increasing the bid-ask spread. In contrast, a pure change in risk shifts the risk-compensating discount factor which is well approximated by the change in bond mid-prices. I evaluate economic effects of the two measures within an instrumental variable local projection framework. The main findings are threefold. First, the resulting shock time series for uncertainty and risk are uncorrelated with each other at the intraday level, however, upon aggregation to monthly level the measures become correlated. Second, uncertainty is an important driver of economic aggregates. Third, macroeconomic effects of risk and uncertainty are similar, except for the response of prices. While sovereign risk raises inflation, uncertainty suppresses price growth – a result which is in line with increased price rigidity under ambiguity.
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.
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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05.04.2023 • 9/2023
East German economy has come through energy crisis well so far – Implications of the Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2023 and new data for the East German economy
In 2022, the East German economy expanded by 3.0%, significantly stronger than the economy in West Germany (1.5%). The background is a more robust development of labour and retirement incomes. For 2023, the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts a higher GDP growth rate of 1% in East Germany than in Germany as a whole (0.3%). The unemployment rate is expected to stagnate, with 6.8% in 2023 and 6.7% in the following year.
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