09.06.2016 • 22/2016
The German Economy Benefits from Strong Domestic Demand
In 2016, the moderate upswing of the German economy continues. Incomes grow due to the steady expansion in employment, and the fall in energy prices has propped up the purchasing power of private households. As a consequence, private consumption expands healthily; investment in housing is additionally stimulated by very low interest rates. Exports, however, expand only moderately, as the world economy is rather weak. All in all, the IWH forecasts the German GDP to expand by 1.8% in this year and by 1.6% in 2017.
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16.03.2016 • 10/2016
German Economy Stays Stable Despite Shaky Environment
The German economy had a good start into the year 2016, in spite of heightened risks for the world economy and political turmoil in Europe. Employment and incomes are expanding, as is internal de-mand, additionally supported by government spending related to the high number of newly arrived refugees. However, sliding sentiment indicates a temporary slow down of the economy during this spring. We assume that the present political tensions inside the European Union can be mitigated in the coming months and that confidence will rise again. All in all, gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to rise by 1.5% in 2016.
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16.12.2015 • 45/2015
German Economy: Strong domestic demand compensates for weak exports
The upturn of the German economy is expected to gain further momentum as a consequence of strong domestic demand. Real gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.6% in 2016. Consumer prices are expected to rise by 0.9%. Unemployment is expected to rise slightly because it will take time to integrate refugees into the labour market.
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The Efficiency of Municipal Service Provision: A Study on the Example of Saxony-Anhalt
Gebiets- und Verwaltungsstrukturen im Umbruch: Beiträge zur Reformdiskussion aus Erfahrungen in Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt und Thüringen,
Against the background of the latest reforms of municipal territories in Sachsen-Anhalt, this paper aims to empirically investigate for this federal state whether the former, very small scale structure of municipal administration could generally be termed “inefficient“. It is of particular importance to determine whether decentralised forms of administration, such as the administrative associations that have been dissolved, are characterised by an efficiency disadvantage in comparison to more strongly centralised standard-municipalities, and whether the former municipalities were too small in terms of their “operational size“.
No justification for the creation of large municipal entities can be derived from the analysis conducted. Owing to the settlement structure and limited possible economies of scale, it is thus not only to be feared that territorially large municipalities in rural areas will fail to significantly improve cost efficiency in the provision of municipal services. Rather, it may also be the case that efficiency will actually decline, as such “giant municipalities“ are often attended by disincentive effects for citizens as well as for policy and administration (e.g. little civil society involvement arising from a lack of identification with the municipality, lack of control of political decision-makers, low levels of preference-justice in administrative action).
The Development of Cities and Municipalities in Central and Eastern Europe: Introduction for a Special Issue of 'Urban Research and Practice'
Urban Research & Practice, Vol. 7 (3),
Since the 1990s, local governments in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have been confronted by completely new structures and developments. This came after more than 40 years (or even longer in the case of the former Soviet Union) under a socialist regime and behind an iron curtain which isolated them from the non-socialist world. A lack of resources had led to an underinvestment in the refurbishment of older buildings, while relatively cheap ‘prefabricated’ housing had been built, not only in the outskirts of cities, but also within city centres. A lack of resources had also resulted in the fact that the socialist regimes were generally unable to replace old buildings with ‘modern’ ones; hence, there is a very rich heritage of historical monuments in many of these cities today. The centrally planned economies and the development of urban structures (including the shifts of population between cities and regions) were determined by ideology, political rationality and the integration of all CEE countries into the production schemes of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and its division of labour by location. The sudden introduction of a market economy, private property, democratic rules, local autonomy for cities and municipalities and access to the global economy and society may be seen as a kind of ‘natural experiment’. How would these new conditions shape the national systems of cities and municipalities? Which cities would shrink and which would grow? How would the relationship between core cities and their surrounding municipalities develop? And what would happen within these cities and with their built environment?
The Impact of Preferences on Early Warning Systems - The Case of the European Commission's Scoreboard
European Journal of Political Economy,
The European Commission’s Scoreboard of Macroeconomic Imbalances is a rare case of a publicly released early warning system. It allows the preferences of the politicians involved to be analysed with regard to the two potential errors of an early warning system – missing a crisis and issuing a false alarm. These preferences might differ with the institutional setting. Such an analysis is done for the first time in this article for early warning systems in general by using a standard signals approach, including a preference-based optimisation approach, to set thresholds. It is shown that, in general, the thresholds of the Commission’s Scoreboard are set low (resulting in more alarm signals), as compared to a neutral stand. Based on political economy considerations the result could have been expected.
Cost of Transaction and the Search for Skilled Workers: A Theoretical Explanation Based on the Theory of Institutions
IWH Discussion Papers,
Germany will have an increasing need of qualified staff across regions and economical sectors. Not only does this concern highly qualified of so-called MINT-professions (mathematics, IT, natural sciences and technology), but expands to qualified laborers of the health business and the arts and crafts sector. This demand cannot be met through the employment of jobless people from within the country, as the demographic change of a shrinking and ageing population works against it. Societal responsibility thus demands to attract qualified laborers as immigrants. In order to improve Germany’s image as a country of immigration for qualified staff, so-called soft-criteria should be strengthened aside hard facts, like income or employment opportunities. Such a policy actively needs to communicate to migrants that they and their family members are welcome to stay for good. Such an approach has recently been discussed as “Willkommenskultur” (“culture of welcoming”). It signals a change of paradigm in German immigration policy. A policy of „Willkommenskultur“ does not yet exist in Germany, at least it has not yet reached a satisfying level to be recognized and accepted as such by potential immigrants. Based on the theoretical conception of the Institutional Economy, approaches of a political change and its implementation are outlined. Those changes would imply governmental, societal and micro-economical shifts and changes.