01.02.2021 • 4/2021
During Corona, households are saving more – not for fear of unemployment but for lack of spending opportunities
During the Corona crisis, European households increased their savings dramatically. According to an analysis carried out by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), the increase in savings is largely due to the inability of households to consume in the face of government lockdown measures, rather than other factors such as economic uncertainty. IWH President Reint Gropp therefore sees potential for a significant catch-up effect in consumption as soon as the lockdown is lifted.
Reint E. Gropp
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Why Are Households Saving so much During the Corona Recession?
Reint E. Gropp, William McShane
IWH Policy Notes,
Savings rates among European households have reached record levels during the Corona recession. We investigate three possible explanations for the increase in household savings: precautionary motivations induced by increased economic uncertainty, reduced consumption opportunities due to lockdown measures, and Ricardian Equivalence, i.e. increases in the expected future tax-burden of households driven by increases in government debt. To test these explanations, we compile a monthly panel of euro area countries from January 2019 to August 2020. Our findings indicate that the chief driver of the increase in household savings is supply: As governments restrict households’ opportunities to spend, households spend less. We estimate that going from no lockdown measures to that of Italy’s in March, would have resulted in the growth of Germany’s deposit to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio being 0.6 percentage points higher each month. This would be equivalent to the volume of deposits increasing by roughly 14.3 billion euros or 348 euros per house monthly. Demand effects, driven by either fears of unemployment or fear of infection from COVID-19, appear to only have a weak impact on household savings, whereas changes in government debt are unrelated or even negatively related to savings rates. The analysis suggests that there is some pent-up demand for consumption that may unravel after lockdown measures are abolished and may result in a significant increase in consumption in the late spring/early summer 2021.
16.12.2020 • 26/2020
New wave of infections delays economic recovery in Germany
The lockdown is causing production in Germany to decline at the end of the year. When restrictions will be relaxed again, the recovery is likely to pick up pace only slowly, partly because the temporary reduction in value-added taxes is expiring. In spring, milder temperatures and an increasing portion of the population being vaccinated are likely to support the German economy to expand more strongly. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that gross domestic product will increase by 4.4% in 2021, following a 5% decline in 2020. In East Germany, both the decline and the recovery will be significantly less pronounced.
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14.10.2020 • 22/2020
Economic slump in East Germany not as severe as in Germany as a whole ‒ Implications of the Joint Economic Forecast and new data for East Germany
The German economy started recovering quickly after the drastic pandemic-related slump in spring 2020. The recovery, however, loses much of its momentum in the second half of the year. The Joint Economic Forecast predicts that production levels seen before the crisis will not be reached again until the second half of 2021. In principle, the East German economy is following this pattern, although the economic slump is likely to be somewhat milder.
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The Effects of Fiscal Policy in an Estimated DSGE Model – The Case of the German Stimulus Packages During the Great Recession
Andrej Drygalla, Oliver Holtemöller, Konstantin Kiesel
In this paper, we analyze the effects of the stimulus packages adopted by the German government during the Great Recession. We employ a standard medium-scale dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model extended by non-optimizing households and a detailed fiscal sector. In particular, the dynamics of spending and revenue variables are modeled as feedback rules with respect to the cyclical components of output, hours worked and private investment. Based on the estimated rules, fiscal shocks are identified. According to the results, fiscal policy, in particular public consumption, investment, and transfers prevented a sharper and prolonged decline of German output at the beginning of the Great Recession, suggesting a timely response of fiscal policy. The overall effects, however, are small when compared to other domestic and international shocks that contributed to the economic downturn. Our overall findings are not sensitive to considering fiscal foresight.
Who Buffers Income Losses after Job Displacement? The Role of Alternative Income Sources, the Family, and the State
Daniel Fackler, Eva Weigt
LABOUR: Review of Labour Economics and Industrial Relations,
Using survey data from the German Socio‐Economic Panel (SOEP), this paper analyses the extent to which alternative income sources, reactions within the household context, and redistribution by the state attenuate earnings losses after job displacement. Applying propensity score matching and fixed effects estimations, we find that income from self‐employment reduces the earnings gap only slightly and severance payments buffer losses in the short run. On the household level, we find little evidence for an added worker effect whereas redistribution by the state within the tax and transfer system mitigates income losses substantially.
08.04.2020 • 5/2020
Economy in Shock – Fiscal Policy to Counteract
The coronavirus pandemic is triggering a severe recession in Germany. Economic output will shrink by 4.2% this year. This is what the leading economics research institutes expect in their spring report. For next year, they are forecasting a recovery and growth of 5.8%.
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12.03.2020 • 4/2020
Global economy under the spell of the coronavirus epidemic
The epidemic is obstructing the economic recovery in Germany. Foreign demand is falling, private households forgo domestic consumption if it comes with infection risk, and investments are postponed. Assuming that the spread of the disease can be contained in short time, GDP growth in 2020 is expected to be 0.6% according to IWH spring economic forecast. Growth in East Germany is expected to be 0.9% and thus higher than in West Germany. If the number of new infections cannot be decreased in short time, we expect a recession in Germany.
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Short-term Economic Effects of a "Brexit" on the German Economy
Hans-Ulrich Brautzsch, Geraldine Dany-Knedlik, Andrej Drygalla, Stefan Gebauer, Oliver Holtemöller, Martina Kämpfe, Axel Lindner, Claus Michelsen, Malte Rieth, Thore Schlaak
Many questions about Brexit remain open. It is still possible that the UK and the European Union will not be able to agree on a withdrawal agreement. In this case a so-called hard Brexit (No-Deal Brexit) would happen. We have examined the short-term effects of a hard Brexit for the German economy. In a first step, effects via the trading channel are estimated based on an input-output analysis of international and sectoral links. The result is a loss of 0.3% relative to gross domestic product. This magnitude also results from the international Halle Economic Projection Model, which takes into account macroeconomic repercussions. A hard Brexit would, in addition to the trade barriers, mean significant uncertainty for firms and households. On the demand side, this has a negative impact on investment activity and private consumption. Taken alone, these effects amount to 0.1% of gross domestic product. Overall, German gross domestic product could be dampened by several tenths of a percentage point in the one to two years following a hard Brexit. The automotive industry would probably suffer most. However, recommendations for discretionary economic policy measures aimed at dampening short-term macroeconomic effects or at individual economic sectors cannot be derived from this. The automatic stabilizers are sufficient given the expected magnitude of the effects.
02.10.2019 • 20/2019
Joint Economic Forecast Autumn 2019: Economy Cools Further – Industry in Recession
Berlin, October 2, 2019 – Germany’s leading economics research institutes have revised their economic forecast for Germany significantly downward. Whereas in the spring they still expected gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 0.8% in 2019, they now expect GDP growth to be only 0.5%. Reasons for the poor performance are the falling worldwide demand for capital goods – in the exporting of which the Germany economy is specialised – as well as political uncertainty and structural changes in the automotive industry. By contrast, monetary policy is shoring up macroeconomic expansion. For the coming year, the economic researchers have also reduced their forecast of GDP growth to 1.1%, having predicted 1.8% in the spring.
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