29.09.2016 • 40/2016
Joint Economic Forecast: German Economy on Track – Economic Policy needs to be Realigned
Thanks to a stable job market and solid consumption, the German economy is experiencing a moderate upswing. The GDP is expected to increase by 1.9 percent this year, 1.4 percent in 2017, and 1.6 percent in 2018, according to the Gemeinschaftsdiagnose (GD, joint economic forecast) that was prepared by five of Europe’s leading economic research institutes on behalf of the Federal Government. The most recent GD, which was released in April, predicted a GDP growth rate of 1.6 percent for 2016 and 1.5 percent for 2017.
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02.09.2016 • 35/2016
The German Economy: Still Robust Despite Sliding Sentiment
The prospects for the German economy are still quite favorable. While sentiment indicators suggest that growth will slow at the end of the year, domestic demand will continue on an upward trend. The German GDP should increase by 1.9% in 2016. For 2017 we expect a lower growth rate of 1.2%“Weaker export volumes and higher growth of imports are the relevant factors for the slowdown”, says Prof Oliver Holtemöller, IWH Vice president. Unemployment will rise a bit as more refugees enter the labor market. Consumer price inflation remains moderate. The general government balance (cyclically ad¬justed as well as unadjusted) will be in surplus in both 2016 and 2017.
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The Forward-looking Disclosures of Corporate Managers: Theory and Evidence
IWH Discussion Papers,
We consider an infinitely repeated game in which a privately informed, long-lived manager raises funds from short-lived investors in order to finance a project. The manager can signal project quality to investors by making a (possibly costly) forward-looking disclosure about her project’s potential for success. We find that if the manager’s disclosures are costly, she will never release forward-looking statements that do not convey information to external investors. Furthermore, managers of firms that are transparent and face significant disclosure-related costs will refrain from forward-looking disclosures. In contrast, managers of opaque and profitable firms will follow a policy of accurate disclosures. To test our findings empirically, we devise an index that captures the quantity of forward-looking disclosures in public firms’ 10-K reports, and relate it to multiple firm characteristics. For opaque firms, our index is positively correlated with a firm’s profitability and financing needs. For transparent firms, there is only a weak relation between our index and firm fundamentals. Furthermore, the overall level of forward-looking disclosures declined significantly between 2001 and 2009, possibly as a result of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
03.05.2016 • 20/2016
Are Lacking Structural Reforms in the Financial Sector the Underlying Reason for the German Criticism of the ECB?
The major reason for the intense criticism of the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) low-interest-rate policy may be the lack of structural reforms in the German banking system. The resulting persistent fragmentation increases the banking sector’s vulnerability to the low-interest-rate environment. Hence, parts of the banking sector, due to their strong ties to politicians, appear to have successfully influenced public opinion against the ECB.
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Can R&D Subsidies Counteract the Economic Crisis? – Macroeconomic Effects in Germany
During the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, governments in Europe stabilized their economies by means of fiscal policy. After decades of absence, deficit spending was used to counteract the heavy decline in demand. In Germany, public spending went partially into R&D subsidies in favor of small and medium sized enterprises. Applying the standard open input–output model, the paper analyzes the macroeconomic effects of R&D subsidies on employment and production in the business cycle. Findings in the form of backward multipliers suggest that R&D subsidies have stimulated a substantial leverage effect. Almost two thirds of the costs of R&D projects are covered by the enterprises themselves. Overall, a subsidized R&D program results in a production, value added and employment effect that amounts to at least twice the initial financing. Overall, the R&D program counteracts the decline of GDP by 0.5% in the year 2009. In the year 2010 the effects are already procyclical since the German economy recovered quickly. Compared to the strongly discussed alternative uses of subsidies for private consumption, R&D spending is more effective.
Einführung: Strukturen der öffentlichen Verwaltung und Raumentwicklung – Allgemeine Zusammenhänge und Ansätze zu ihrer Erforschung im Überblick
Gebiets- und Verwaltungsstrukturen im Umbruch: Beiträge zur Reformdiskussion aus Erfahrungen in Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt und Thüringen,
Far-reaching measures of administrative restructuring are being often introduced in the face of demographic change and the financial diffculties of the municipalities and federal states. Only with larger entities, it is argued, will it in future be possible to provide high quality municipal services at a reasonable cost. The tendency to enlarge municipal entities fits with the overall picture of municipal reforms in Germany, which since 1945 have been dominated by measures associated with concentration and centralisation efforts. Territorial restructuring is, however, but one element of the entire spectrum of administrative reforms. Further elements of administrative (re)structuring are the reform of the portfolio of public tasks (critical review of public tasks), the transfer of responsibilities between the levels (functional reform), and a change in the specifications of financing regulations relevant to services assigned to the public sector (financing reform). This publication consists of the results of the working group “Administrative and Territorial Reforms” (AG VGR) of the state working groups Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt and Thüringen of the Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung (ARL). A significant objective of the AG VGR was to shed more light on the spatially-related interactions of the effects of administrative reform measures, as there are few findings on the topic that are empirically well-founded and many questions remain unanswered.
International Side-payments to Improve Global Public Good Provision when Transfers are Refinanced through a Tax on Local and Global Externalities
International Economic Journal,
This paper discusses a tax-transfer scheme that aims to address the under-provision problem associated with the private supply of international public goods and to bring about Pareto optimal allocations internationally. In particular, we consider the example of the global public good ‘climate stabilization’, both in an analytical and a numerical simulation model. The proposed scheme levies Pigouvian taxes globally, while international side-payments are employed in order to provide incentives to individual countries for not taking a free-ride from the international Pigouvian tax scheme. The side-payments, in turn, are financed via environmental taxes. As a distinctive feature, we take into account ancillary benefits that may be associated with local public characteristics of climate policy. We determine the positive impact that ancillary effects may exert on the scope for financing side-payments via environmental taxation. A particular attractive feature of ancillary benefits is that they arise shortly after the implementation of climate policies and therefore yield an almost immediate payback of investments in abatement efforts. Especially in times of high public debt levels, long periods of amortization would tend to reduce political support for investments in climate policy.
Sovereign Credit Risk, Banks' Government Support, and Bank Stock Returns around the World: Discussion of Correa, Lee, Sapriza, and Suarez
Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Vol. 46 (s1),
In the years leading up to the 2008–09 financial crisis, many banks around the world greatly expanded their balance sheets to take advantage of cheap and abundantly available funding. Access to international funding markets, in particular, made it possible for banks to reach a size that in some cases was a large multiple of their home countries’ gross domestic product (GDP). In Iceland, for example, assets of the banking system reached up to 900% of GDP in 2007. Similarly, by the end of 2008, assets in UK and Swiss banks exceeded 500% of their countries’ GDPs, respectively. Banks may also have grown rapidly because they may have wanted to reach too-big-to-fail status in their country, implying even lower funding cost (Penas and Unal 2004).
The depth and severity of the 2008–09 financial crisis and the subsequent debt crisis in Europe, however, have cast doubts on the ability of governments to bail out banks when they experience severe difficulties, in particular, in financially fragile environments and faced with large budget imbalances. This has resulted in as what some observers have dubbed a “doom loop”: the combination of weak public finances and weak banks results in a vicious cycle, in which the funding cost of banks increases, as the ability of governments to bail out banks is called into question, in turn increasing the funding cost of these banks and making the likelihood that the government will actually have to step in even higher, which in turn increases funding cost to the government and so forth.
Against this background, the paper by Correa et al. (2014) explores the link between sovereign rating changes and bank stock returns. They show large negative reactions of stock returns in response to sovereign ratings downgrades for banks that are expected to receive government support in case of failure. They find the strongest effects in developed economies, where the credibility of government bail outs is higher ex ante, while the effects are smaller in developing and emerging economies. In my view, the paper makes a number of important contributions to the extant literature.