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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The Efficiency of Local Public-service Production: The Effect of Political Institutions
Reforms replacing municipal cooperations by centralized municipalities often aim at increasing municipal efficiency. Empirical evidence supporting this aim, however, is ambiguous. Our paper analyzes the effect of institutions on municipal efficiency. In particular, we distinguish two archetypal institutional settings, a centralized and a confederal one, and argue that bureaucrats in a centralized setting are able to increase the fiscal residual. Our empirical test case is the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. We test the effect of the institutional setup using the bootstrap approach suggested by Simar and Wilson (2007), concluding that a decentralized institutional setting improves the efficiency of municipal production.
Central Banks, Trade Unions and Reputation – Is there Room for an Expansionist Manoeuvre in the European Union?
Journal of Post Keynesian Economics,
It is now a few years since the introduction of the common currency, and Europe is still experiencing high unemployment. The conventional logic attributes this problem to flaws in the labour market. In this article we look at the changes that occur if labour unions and the Central Bank have different options to choose from in a climate of uncertainty. In a single-stage game the most probable outcome is a high unemployment rate. Results change dramatically if the game is repeated. However, this effect does not occur if the Central Bank puts a too high weight on price stability. Secondly, if the trade unions do not possess the capability for coordinating and moderating their wage claims, a full employment equilibrium is out of range.
Demographic development and its economic consequences
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Within the next decades, East Germany will continue to face strong demographic challenges. In addition to shrinking, the ageing of population and labour force will more and more affect the economic development of the new Länder. Against this background, the question rises whether the shift of workforce age structure will influence growth and innovation potential as well as structural change. The IWH recently has focused on this topic widely ignored by the research literature so far. On the basis of selected methods and data, the economic impact of workforce ageing was empirically evaluated. The first issue concerns the impact of age on productivity. Based on two separate empirical investigations, the conclusion can be drawn that above a certain stage, age diminishes productivity. But higher levels of experience might partly compensate for this reduction. Secondly, the innovation effects of ageing have been analyzed. Again, significant age effects arise. Employees at the age of about 40 years turn out to be the most innovative part of the workforce. Furthermore, the analysis shows that engineers are particularly subject to age effects. A third study sheds light on the challenging consequences of ageing on entrepreneurship potential. Hence, independently of the increasing problem of skill shortages, ageing itself will unfavourably affect growth, innovation and structural change. Though political options are limited due to the more or less fixed demographic trends, appropriate instruments regarding economic, family and education policy might lower the identified age effects.
Ageing in East Germany: Remarkable reduction of entrepreneurship
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Population shrinking and ageing are obvious trends in many German regions, but in the Eastern states they reach an unique level. An often ignored economic implication of these demographic deve-lopments is the reduction of the entrepreneurial potential. Shirking, on the one hand, diminishes the quantity of potential entrepreneurs, on the other hand these effects are strengthened by ageing trends, since people usually decide in younger years to found an enterprise. The analysis tries to quantify the impact of demographic change on entrepreneurship activities in east Germany until 2020. At the first stage on the basis of the Mikrozensus survey age specific shares of new entrepreneurs are calculated. In order to obtain a status-quo-forecast of new entrepreneurs at the second stage these quotas are combined with the population projections for the East Germany. As expected the propensity to set up a new business is highest for persons at the age form 25 to 39 years. Due to the strong reduction of this age group the number of new firm foundations will fall by approximately 25% until 2020.Whereas the decline in Berlin will be relatively small (14%), Brandenburg has to bear an alarming reduction of 32%.In contrast the West German states show only a reduction of 6% during the same period, which emphasizes the extraordinary dimension of demographic change in East Germany.
The Economics of Restructuring the German Electricity Sector
Zeitschrift für Energiewirtschaft,
The debate about the development of German electricity prices after the liberalization of energy markets in 1998 raises the question of failures in market restructuring. However, a general statement would be misleading for two main reasons. Firstly, the price development, analyzed for the exemplary case of household prices, shows significant differences among the stages of the value chain. Secondly, the underlying cost structure might have changed from 1998 to 2004. While such effects can be expected to level out over time, they can distort the comparison of a small period of observation. For these reasons, we analyzed the different price components at a detailed level, finding a considerable price reduction of about 32% in generation and a much lower reduction of 13% in transmission and distribution tariffs. These decreases have been mostly compensated by a significant increase in taxes and subsidies (+56%).