15.03.2018 • 3/2018
Consistently strong economy, but risks are increasing
The global upswing continues in 2018. The German economy is cur-rently in a boom and is increasingly coming up against capacity limits. “According to our forecast, gross domestic product will expand by 2.2% in 2018; the general government surplus will amount to 1.1% in relation to gross domestic product. Economic growth in East Germany is likely to be slightly below the German growth rate”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department Macroeconomics and IWH vice president.
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Does Administrative Status Matter for Urban Growth? – Evidence from Present and Former County Capitals in East Germany
Growth and Change,
Public sector activities are often neglected in the economic approaches used to analyze the driving forces behind urban growth. The institutional status of a regional capital is a crucial aspect of public sector activities. This paper reports on a quasi-natural experiment on county towns in East Germany. Since 1990, cities in East Germany have demonstrated remarkable differences in population development. During this same period, many towns have lost their status as a county seat due to several administrative reforms. Using a difference-in-difference approach, the annual population development of former county capitals is compared to population change in towns that have successfully held on to their capital status throughout the observed period. The estimations show that maintaining county capital status has a statistically significant positive effect on annual changes in population. This effect is furthermore increasing over time after the implementation of the respective reforms.
20.02.2018 • 2/2018
TV boosts entrepreneurial identity
Entrepreneurship is a key driver of development in free-market economies – and TV is one channel in transporting and promoting an entrepreneurial identity or ‘culture’, as IWH economist Viktor Slavtchev and his co-author Michael Wyrwich find in a recent study. For their analysis, they compare – for the period after 1990 – the entrepreneurship incidence among the inhabitants of East German regions that had West Ger¬man TV signal prior to 1990 to that of the inhabitants of regions without such a signal.
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When Arm’s Length is too Far: Relationship Banking over the Credit Cycle
Journal of Financial Economics,
We conduct face-to-face interviews with bank CEOs to classify 397 banks across 21 countries as either relationship or transaction lenders. We then use the geographic coordinates of these banks’ branches and of 14,100 businesses to analyze how the lending techniques of banks in the vicinity of firms are related to credit constraints at two contrasting points of the credit cycle. We find that while relationship lending is not associated with credit constraints during a credit boom, it alleviates such constraints during a downturn. This positive role of relationship lending is stronger for small and opaque firms and in regions with a more severe economic downturn. Moreover, our evidence suggests that relationship lending mitigates the impact of a downturn on firm growth and does not constitute evergreening of loans.
German Unification: Macroeconomic Consequences for the Country
F. Heinemann, U. Klüh, S. Watzka (eds): Monetary Policy, Financial Crises, and the Macroeconomy. Springer,
This paper shows basic macroeconomic consequences of the German unification for the country in time series spanning from 20 years before the event until 25 years thereafter. Essential findings can well be explained by elementary economic theory. Moreover, it is shown that the German economy had been off steady state already before unification in important aspects. In particular, a steep increase in the current account balance during the 1980s suggests that globalization strongly affected the German economy at that time. While unification stopped the trend to an ever more open economy and to a rising trade surplus for about 10 years, the fall of the iron curtain eventually even increased this trend in the long run.
Economic Transition in Unified Germany and Implications for Korea
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.
Who Benefits from GRW? Heterogeneous Employment Effects of Investment Subsidies in Saxony Anhalt
IWH Discussion Papers,
The paper estimates the plant level employment effects of investment subsidies in one of the most strongly subsidized German Federal States. We analyze the treated plants as a whole, as well as the influence of heterogeneity in plant characteristics and the economic environment. Modifying the standard matching and difference-in-difference approach, we develop a new procedure that is particularly useful for the evaluation of funding programs with individual treatment phases within the funding period. Our data base combines treatment, employment and regional information from different sources. So, we can relate the absolute effects to the amount of the subsidy paid. The results suggest that investment subsidies have a positive influence on the employment development in absolute and standardized figures – with considerable effect heterogeneity.
7. IWH/INFER-Workshop on Applied Economics and Economic
Policy: “Challenges and Implications of Inflationary Dynamics“
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Am 7. und 8. September 2017 fand am IWH in Zusammenarbeit mit dem International Network for Economic Research (INFER) und unter Förderung der Stadt Halle (Saale) der 7. Workshop in der Reihe „Applied Economics and Economic Policy“ statt. Im Rahmen des Workshops stellten Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler europäischer Universitäten und internationaler Organisationen ihre neuesten Forschungsergebnisse zu aktuellen ökonomischen Fragen und Problemen vor und diskutierten diese intensiv. Insbesondere gab es einen regen Austausch über das Spezialthema „Challenges and Implications of Inflationary Dynamics“. Hier ging es vor allem um die Entwicklungen von Inflationserwartungen sowie mögliche Gründe und Folgen dieser Entwicklungen.