19.12.2018 • 23/2018
IWH Mid-term Projections: The German Economy and Public Finances 2018 to 2025
In 2018 the general government overall balance is likely to be in surplus by almost 60 billion euros. In the medium term, however, demographic conditions will deteriorate, as will public finances. The financial position of the German state will nevertheless remain stable until 2025, unless major negative shocks occur. “But even if interest rates rose significantly or foreign demand declined markedly, only moderate deficits would arise”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department of Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). However, given the expected reduction of the surplus under existing legislation, there is no room for further increases in spending.
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13.12.2018 • 21/2018
Economic activity in the world and in Germany is losing momentum
In the second half of 2018, the upturn of the German economy has stalled. Production of the automotive industry declined because of delays in switching production to WLTP compliant cars. Irrespectively of this, the German export business has been weakening since the beginning of the year, since the global economy, burdened by the political uncertainties surrounding trade conflicts, the impending Brexit and the conflict over the Italian budget, was unable to keep up with the high momentum of 2017. “It is to be expected that the less benign external environment will not only dampen exports, but will also impact on companies’ investment and hiring decisions”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). Gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.5% in 2018 and by 1.4% in 2019, which is roughly equal to the growth rate of economic capacity in Germany.
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Upturn Loses Momentum – World Economic Climate Grows Harsher
Roland Döhrn, Oliver Holtemöller, Stefan Kooths, Claus Michelsen, Timo Wollmershäuser
The economic upturn in Germany is entering its sixth year but is losing momentum due to both demand and supply side factors. On the one hand, Germany’s key sales markets have weakened in line with the slowdown in world trade. On the other hand, a growing number of firms face production side bottlenecks, especially in terms of labour and sourcing intermediate goods. This coincides with problems in the automotive industry related to the introduction of the new World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which has affected gross domestic product (GDP) growth due to the branch’s economic weight. These adjustment problems, however, should be overcome over the course of the winter. Fiscal stimuli will also take effect as of the beginning of 2019. After 1.7 % growth this year, GDP will increase at rates of 1.9 % in 2019 and 1.8 % in 2020.
Upturn Loses Momentum – World Economic Climate Grows Harsher: Joint Economic Forecast Autumn 2018
The economic upturn in Germany is entering its sixth year, but is losing momentum. This is due to both demand and supply side factors. On the one hand, Germany’s key sales markets have weakened in line with the slowdown in world trade. On the other hand, a growing number of companies are apparently facing production-side bottlenecks, especially in terms of labour and sourcing intermediate goods. This overlaps with problems in the automotive industry related to the introduction of the new World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which has clearly impacted gross domestic product (GDP) growth due to the branch’s economic weight. Adjustment problems, however, should be overcome in the course of the winter half year. Stimuli from fiscal policy measures will also take effect as of the beginning of 2019. After 1.7% growth this year, economic output will increase at rates of 1.9% in 2019 and 1.8% in 2020. Employment will continue to expand clearly, although at a slower pace. The number of registered unemployed persons will approach the 2 million-mark by the end of the forecasting horizon. Inflation will pick up from an average rate of 1.8% this year to 2.0% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020. Despite its expansionary fiscal stance, the German government will continue to post a budget surplus, although this can be expected to fall from 54 billion euros to around 40 billion euros.
Living with Lower Productivity Growth: Impact on Exports
Filippo di Mauro, Bernardo Mottironi, Gianmarco Ottaviano, Alessandro Zona-Mattioli
IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers,
This paper investigates the impact of sustained lower productivity growth on exports, by looking at the role of the productivity distribution and allocative efficiency as drivers of export performance. It follows and goes beyond the work of Barba Navaretti et al. (2017), analysing the effects of productivity on exports depending on the dynamics of allocative efficiency. Low productivity growth is a well-documented stylised fact in Western countries – and possibly a reality likely to persist for some time. What could be the impact of persistent sluggish growth of productivity on exports? To shed light on this question, this paper examines the relationship between the productivity distribution of firms and sectoral export performance. The structure of firms within countries or even sectors matters tremendously for the nexus between productivity and exports at the macroeconomic level, as the theoretical and empirical literature documents. For instance, whether too few firms at the top (lack of innovation) or too many firms at the bottom (weak market selection) drives slow average productivity at the macro level has very different implications and therefore demands different policy responses.
Information Feedback in Temporal Networks as a Predictor of Market Crashes
Stjepan Begušić, Zvonko Kostanjčar, Dejan Kovač, Boris Podobnik, H. Eugene Stanley
In complex systems, statistical dependencies between individual components are often considered one of the key mechanisms which drive the system dynamics observed on a macroscopic level. In this paper, we study cross-sectional time-lagged dependencies in financial markets, quantified by nonparametric measures from information theory, and estimate directed temporal dependency networks in financial markets. We examine the emergence of strongly connected feedback components in the estimated networks, and hypothesize that the existence of information feedback in financial networks induces strong spatiotemporal spillover effects and thus indicates systemic risk. We obtain empirical results by applying our methodology on stock market and real estate data, and demonstrate that the estimated networks exhibit strongly connected components around periods of high volatility in the markets. To further study this phenomenon, we construct a systemic risk indicator based on the proposed approach, and show that it can be used to predict future market distress. Results from both the stock market and real estate data suggest that our approach can be useful in obtaining early-warning signals for crashes in financial markets.
Does it Payoff to Research Economics? A Tale of Citation, Knowledge and Economic Growth in Transition Countries
Dejan Kovač, Boris Podobnik, Nikol Scrbec
Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications,
There are many economic theories that promote human capital as a key driver of a country’s economic growth, but it is challenging to test this theory empirically on a country level and causally interpret the coefficients due to several identification problems. We tried to answer this particular question by using a quasi-natural experiment that happened quarter century ago – the fall of communist block in Eastern Europe. We use a shock to a particular scientific field – economics, to test whether the future investment into that particular field resulted in increased welfare and economic growth. The economics paradigm that was governing all of the communist block ceased to exist. Human capital depreciated over night and all communist countries had to transit from planned economy to a market economy. In the following years countries had to adapt to market economy through additional investment in human capital and research. We find that countries which lack both of the two fourth mentioned components had 25 years later a relatively lower economic growth and wealth. Unlike economics, other fields such as physics and medicine did not go through the same process so we use them as a placebo effect for our study. We find that the relative ratio of citations between economics and physics in post-communist countries is increasing only 15 years after the “paradigm” shock which gives a suggestive evidence that timing of investment into particular scientific field matters the most.
On DSGE Models
Lawrence J. Christiano, Martin S. Eichenbaum, Mathias Trabandt
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
The outcome of any important macroeconomic policy change is the net effect of forces operating on different parts of the economy. A central challenge facing policymakers is how to assess the relative strength of those forces. Economists have a range of tools that can be used to make such assessments. Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models are the leading tool for making such assessments in an open and transparent manner. We review the state of mainstream DSGE models before the financial crisis and the Great Recession. We then describe how DSGE models are estimated and evaluated. We address the question of why DSGE modelers—like most other economists and policymakers—failed to predict the financial crisis and the Great Recession, and how DSGE modelers responded to the financial crisis and its aftermath. We discuss how current DSGE models are actually used by policymakers. We then provide a brief response to some criticisms of DSGE models, with special emphasis on criticism by Joseph Stiglitz, and offer some concluding remarks.
Economic Transition in Unified Germany and Implications for Korea
Hyung-Gon Jeong, Gerhard Heimpold
H.-G. Jeong and G. Heimpold (eds.): Economic Transition in Unified Germany and Implications for Korea. Policy References 17-13. Sejong: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy,
The reunification of Germany, which marked the end of the Cold War in the 20th century, is regarded as one of the most exemplary cases of social integration in human history. Nearly three decades after the German reunification, the economic and social shocks that occurred at the beginning of the reunification process have largely been resolved. Moreover, the unified Germany has grown into one of the most advanced economies in the world.
The unification process that Germany underwent may not necessarily be the way that the Republic of Korea would choose. However, the economic and social exchanges between East and West Germany prior to unification, and the cooperation in a myriad of policies based on these exchanges, served as the crucial foundation for unification. The case of Germany will surely help us find a better way for the re-unification of the Korean Peninsula.
In this context, this is the first edition of a joint research which provides diverse insights on social and economic issues during the process of unification. It consists of nine chapters whose main topics include policies on macroeconomic stabilization, the privatization of state-owned enterprises in East Germany, labor policies and the migration of labor, integration of the social safety nets of the North and South, and securing finances for reunification. To start with, the first part covers macroeconomic stabilization measures, which include policies implemented by the federal government of Germany to overcome macroeconomic shocks directly after the reunification. There was a temporary setback in the economy at the initial phase of reunification as the investment per GDP went down and the level of fiscal debt escalated, reverting to its original trend prior to the reunification. While it appears the momentum for growth was compromised by reunification from the perspective of growth rate of real GDP, this state did not last long and benefits have outpaced the costs since 2000.
In the section which examines the privatization of state-owned enterprises in East Germany, an analysis was conducted on the modernization of industrial infrastructure of East German firms. There was a surge in investment in East German area at the beginning stages but this was focused on a specific group of firms. Most of the firms were privatized through unofficial channels, with a third of these conducted in a management buy-out (MBO) process that was highly effective. Further analysis of a firm called Jenoptik, which was successfully bailed out, is incorporated as to draw implications of its accomplishments.
In the section on migration, we examine how the gap between the unemployment rates in the West and East have narrowed as the population flow shifted from the West to East. Consequently, there was no significant deviation in terms of the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) per capita in each state of East Germany. However, as the labor market stabilized in East Germany and population flows have weakened, the deviation will become larger. Meanwhile, if we make a prediction about the movement of population between the North and the South, which show a remarkable difference in their economic circumstances, a radical reunification process such as Germany’s case would force 7% of the population of the North to move towards the South. Upon reunification, the estimated unemployment rate in North Korea would remain at least 30% for the time being. In order to reduce the initial unemployment rate, it is crucial to design a program that trains the unemployed and to build a system that predicts changes in labor demand.
It seems nearly impossible to apply the social safety nets of the South to the North, as there is a systemic difference in ideologies. Taking steps toward integration would be the most suitable option in the case of the Koreas. We propose to build a sound groundwork for stabilizing the interest rates and exchange rates, maintain stable fiscal policies, raise momentum for economic growth and make sure people understand the means required to financially support the North in order to reduce the gap between the two.
This book was jointly organized and edited by Dr. Hyung-gon Jeong of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) and Dr. Gerhard Heimpold of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). We believe that this report, which examines numerous social and economic agendas that emerged during the reunification of Germany, will provide truly important reference for both Koreas. It is also our view that it will serve as a stepping-stone to establish policies in regard to South-North exchanges across numerous sectors prior to discussions of reunification. KIEP will continue to work with IWH and contribute its expertise to the establishment of grounds for unification policies.
19.12.2017 • 40/2017
The medium-term economic development in Germany from 2017 to 2022 and opportunities for fiscal policies of a new federal government
Due to the cyclical upswing in Germany, in case of unaltered legislation, the general government would achieve considerable budget surpluses in the years ahead. As a consequence, there is large fiscal scope for a new federal government. With the fiscal policy simulation model of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association, the macroeconomic effects of various fiscal policy measures are analysed. The results show that additional government expenditures, like the expansion of social benefits, do have a stronger effect on GDP than revenue cuts, like for instance tax reliefs. „Due to the already high capacity utilisation, revenue cuts seem to be advantageous from a business cycle perspective. Moreover, a reduction of the high taxes and charges on labour would, in contrast to an expansion of social benefits, have a positive effect on potential output“, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department of Macroeconomics and IWH vice president.
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