Why Are Households Saving so much During the Corona Recession?
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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High public deficit not only because of Corona - Medium-term options for action for the state
According to the IWH's medium-term projection, Germany's gross domestic product will grow by an average of ½% in price-adjusted terms in the years to 2025, which is 1 percentage point slower than in the period from 2013 to 2019. This is due not only to the sharp slump in 2020, but also to the fact that the labour force will decline noticeably. Government revenues will be expanding much more slowly than in previous years. Even after the pandemic crisis is overcome, the state budget is likely to have a structural deficit of about 2% relative to GDP if the legal framework remains unchanged, and the debt brake will continue to be violated. Consolidation measures to reduce this deficit ratio to ½ % would push production in Germany below the normal rate of capacity utilization. Simulations with the IWH fiscal policy model show that consolidation on the expenditure side would reduce production by less than consolidation on the revenue side. There is much to be said, also from a theoretical point of view, for not abolishing the debt brake, but for relaxing it to some extent.
Changing Business Dynamism and Productivity: Shocks versus Responsiveness
American Economic Review,
The pace of job reallocation has declined in the United States in recent decades. We draw insight from canonical models of business dynamics in which reallocation can decline due to (i) lower dispersion of idiosyncratic shocks faced by businesses, or (ii) weaker marginal responsiveness of businesses to shocks. We show that shock dispersion has actually risen, while the responsiveness of business-level employment to productivity has weakened. Moreover, declining responsiveness can account for a significant fraction of the decline in the pace of job reallocation, and we find suggestive evidence this has been a drag on aggregate productivity.
Public Bank Guarantees and Allocative Efficiency
Journal of Monetary Economics,
A natural experiment and matched bank/firm data are used to identify the effects of bank guarantees on allocative efficiency. We find that with guarantees in place unproductive firms receive larger loans, invest more, and maintain higher rates of sales and wage growth. Moreover, firms produce less productively. Firms also survive longer in banks’ portfolios and those that enter guaranteed banks’ portfolios are less profitable and productive. Finally, we observe fewer economy-wide firm exits and bankruptcy filings in the presence of guarantees. Overall, the results are consistent with the idea that guaranteed banks keep unproductive firms in business for too long.
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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16.09.2020 • 18/2020
Economy recovers from the shutdown – but a quick return to pre-crisis normality is unlikely
The German economy has bounced back strongly over the summer, recovering a considerable part of the production slump caused by the shutdown in spring. Nevertheless, real gross domestic product in 2020 is likely to contract by 5.7%. In 2021, growth is expected to average 3.2% according to IWH autumn economic forecast. The decline in production in 2020 is likely to be less pronounced in East Germany com¬pared to Germany as a whole.
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Aktuelle Trends: Ostdeutschland macht im Jahr 2019 im Ost-West-Vergleich in puncto Produktivität einen weiteren Schritt nach vorn
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Ostdeutschland konnte laut Daten des Arbeitskreises „Volkswirtschaftliche Gesamtrechnungen der Länder“, die Ende März 2020 veröffentlicht wurden, im Jahr 2019 in puncto Produktivität im Vergleich zu Westdeutschland einen weiteren Schritt nach vorn gehen.