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.
19.12.2017 • 40/2017
The medium-term economic development in Germany from 2017 to 2022 and opportunities for fiscal policies of a new federal government
Due to the cyclical upswing in Germany, in case of unaltered legislation, the general government would achieve considerable budget surpluses in the years ahead. As a consequence, there is large fiscal scope for a new federal government. With the fiscal policy simulation model of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association, the macroeconomic effects of various fiscal policy measures are analysed. The results show that additional government expenditures, like the expansion of social benefits, do have a stronger effect on GDP than revenue cuts, like for instance tax reliefs. „Due to the already high capacity utilisation, revenue cuts seem to be advantageous from a business cycle perspective. Moreover, a reduction of the high taxes and charges on labour would, in contrast to an expansion of social benefits, have a positive effect on potential output“, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department of Macroeconomics and IWH vice president.
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28.09.2017 • 35/2017
Joint Economic Forecast—Autumn 2017: Upturn Remains Robust—Amid Mounting Tensions
The German economic upturn has gained both in terms of strength and breadth. In addition to consumer spending, external trade and investments are now also contributing to economic expansion. These are the conclusions drawn by the economic research institutes in their autumn report for the German federal government. Whereas the very high economic momentum in the first half of the current year will slow slightly, expansion of economic output this year and next will exceed production capacity growth. As a result, overall capacity utilization will increase, with economic output exceeding potential output. Gross Domestic Product is likely to grow by 1.9 percent this year and by 2 percent in 2018 (calendar-adjusted: 2.2 and 2.1 percent, respectively).
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Criminal Network Formation and Optimal Detection Policy: The Role of Cascade of Detection
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
This paper investigates the effect of cascade of detection, how detection of a criminal triggers detection of his network neighbors, on criminal network formation. We develop a model in which criminals choose both links and actions. We show that the degree of cascade of detection plays an important role in shaping equilibrium criminal networks. Surprisingly, greater cascade of detection could reduce ex ante social welfare. In particular, we prove that full cascade of detection yields a weakly denser criminal network than that under partial cascade of detection. We further characterize the optimal allocation of the detection resource and demonstrate that it should be highly asymmetric among ex ante identical agents.
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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Upturn Remains Moderate — Economic Policy Lacks Growth Orientation
The German economy is experiencing a moderate upturn. Gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.6 per cent this year and by 1.5 per cent in 2017. The upturn will be driven by private consumption, which will benefit from continued employment growth, sizeable increases in wage and transfer income, and also purchasing power gains thanks to lower energy prices. Fiscal policy will also be expansively oriented, partly due to rising costs related to refugee immigration. Public budgets will still post significant surpluses in the forecasting period, however. Failing to use this room for manoeuvre to promote growth, as seen in recent years, is not a sustainable path. In view of the continuous slack in the euro area economy, the monetary policy stance is considered to be appropriate. Should it become obvious in the course of this year that production does not return to normal capacity and that the inflation rate does not move towards two per cent, further measures to stimulate growth might become necessary. The scope for further monetary policy measures has been widely exhausted, though. A further economic stabilization could only be achieved through a combination of expansionary fiscal and monetary policy. This could severely damage the credibility of monetary policy, however.
16.12.2015 • 45/2015
German Economy: Strong domestic demand compensates for weak exports
The upturn of the German economy is expected to gain further momentum as a consequence of strong domestic demand. Real gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.6% in 2016. Consumer prices are expected to rise by 0.9%. Unemployment is expected to rise slightly because it will take time to integrate refugees into the labour market.
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Exit Expectations and Debt Crises in Currency Unions
IWH Discussion Papers,
Membership in a currency union is not irreversible. Exit expectations may emerge during sovereign debt crises, because exit allows countries to reduce their liabilities through a currency redenomination. As market participants anticipate this possibility, sovereign debt crises intensify. We establish this formally within a small open economy model of changing policy regimes. The model permits explosive dynamics of debt and sovereign yields inside currency unions and allows us to distinguish between exit expectations and those of an outright default. By estimating the model on Greek data, we quantify the contribution of exit expectations to the crisis dynamics during 2009 to 2012.
Are there Business Cycles “beyond GDP“? Alternative Measures to GDP at Business Cycle Frequencies
Applied Economics Quarterly,
We discuss properties of alternatives or complements to GDP as a measure of welfare at business cycle frequencies. Our results imply that the suggested indicators show practically no cycle at all and their methodologies can be questioned. First, data are not available at an appropriate quality and frequency. Second, the suggested time series sometimes correlate negatively with each other. Third, cross-section and quasi-panel evidence based on different samples of countries reveals no impact of the stance of the business cycle on some suggested welfare measures. Therefore, alternative welfare measures do not show an equal picture on business cycle frequencies compared to GDP-based measures.