Uncertainty, Financial Crises, and Subjective Well-being
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper focuses on the effect of uncertainty as reflected by financial market variables on subjective well-being. The analysis is based on Eurobarometer surveys, covering 20 countries over the period from 2000 to 2013. Individuals report lower levels of life satisfaction in times of higher uncertainty approximated by stock market volatility. This effect is heterogeneous across respondents: The probability of being unsatisfied is higher for respondents who are older, less educated, and live in one of the GIIPS countries of the euro area. Furthermore, higher uncertainty in combination with a financial crisis increases the probability of reporting low values of life satisfaction.
The Effect of Board Directors from Countries with Different Genetic Diversity Levels on Corporate Performance
We link genetic diversity in the country of origin of the firms’ board members with corporate performance via board members’ nationality. We hypothesize that our approach captures deep-rooted differences in cultural, institutional, social, psychological, physiological, and other traits that cannot be captured by other recently measured indices of diversity. Using a panel of firms listed in the North American and UK stock markets, we find that adding board directors from countries with different levels of genetic diversity (either higher or lower) increases firm performance. This effect prevails when we control for a number of cultural, institutional, firm-level, and board member characteristics, as well as for the nationality of the board of directors. To identify the relationship, we use—as instrumental variables for our diversity indices—the migratory distance from East Africa and the level of ultraviolet exposure in the directors’ country of nationality.
14.12.2016 • 50/2016
The German Economy: Economic Activity Spurred by Private Consumption and Construction
German economic activity remains robust due to strong domestic demand. IWH forecasts gross domestic product (GDP) to increase by 1.3% in 2017. The growth rate is half a percentage point lower than in 2016 due to calendar effects and a negative contribution of external trade. Consumer price inflation also remains modest (1.3%). “Unemployment is expected to increase slightly due to a protracted integration of refugees into the labor market”, says Oliver Holtemöller, Head of the Department Macroeconomics and IWH vice president
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National Politics and Bank Default Risk in the Eurozone
Journal of Financial Stability,
We study the impact of national politics on default risk of eurozone banks as measured by the stock market-based Distance to Default. We find that national electoral cycles, the power of the government as well as the government’s party ideological alignment significantly affect the stability of banks in the eurozone member countries. Moreover, we show that the impact of national politics on bank default risk is more pronounced for large as well as weakly capitalized banks.
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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24.06.2016 • 26/2016
UK’s “No” to EU will be costly for both sides
On Thursday 23rd, the British people have decided to leave the European Union (EU) Their vote not to remain in the European community was surprisingly clear. UK’s exit will have both political and economic consequences which are far-reaching for the country itself as well as the rest of Europe. “The reactions of the remaining member states are the crucial key now, especially France’s and Germany’s” says Reint E. Gropp, President of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association.
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20.06.2016 • 24/2016
Financial market reaction to poll data suggests strong effects of a Brexit on exchange rates and the banking system both in the UK and in the EU
On 23 June 2016, there will be a referendum in the United Kingdom (UK) on the question of whether or not the country should remain in the European Union (EU). We use the polls as a measure of the likelihood of an exit to examine the likely effect of a Brexit on financial markets. “Whenever the probability in the polls of a Brexit moves above 50%, we observe a substantial depreciation of the UK pound with respect to most major currencies (including the euro), and strong decline in bank stock prices, suggesting that markets feel the financial sector (both in the UK and the EU) will be most severely affected by a Brexit”, IWH President Reint E. Gropp says. There is little effect on the euro/US Dollar exchange rate. “A huge concern is that overall market volatility both in the UK and the EU are on record highs since last Thursday, reflecting the higher uncertainty associated with Brexit and how exactly, if it happened, it would come about.” Within the UK, we see some evidence for a flight to safety into UK government bonds, but no effects for German bonds.
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CEO Political Preference and Corporate Tax Sheltering
Journal of Corporate Finance,
We show that firms led by politically partisan CEOs are associated with a higher level of corporate tax sheltering than firms led by nonpartisan CEOs. Specifically, Republican CEOs are associated with more corporate tax sheltering even when their wealth is not tied with that of shareholders and when corporate governance is weak, suggesting that their tax sheltering decisions could be driven by idiosyncratic factors such as their political ideology. We also show that Democratic CEOs are associated with more corporate tax sheltering only when their stock-based incentives are high, suggesting that their tax sheltering decisions are more likely to be driven by economic incentives. In sum, our results support the political connection hypothesis in general but highlight that the specific factors driving partisan CEOs' tax sheltering behaviors differ. Our results imply that it may cost firms more to motivate Democratic CEOs to engage in more tax sheltering activities because such decisions go against their political beliefs regarding tax policies.