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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Taxation, Corruption, and Growth
European Economic Review,
We build an endogenous growth model to analyze the relationships between taxation, corruption, and economic growth. Entrepreneurs lie at the center of the model and face disincentive effects from taxation but acquire positive benefits from public infrastructure. Political corruption governs the efficiency with which tax revenues are translated into infrastructure. The model predicts an inverted-U relationship between taxation and growth, with corruption reducing the optimal taxation level. We find evidence consistent with these predictions and the entrepreneurial channel using data from the Longitudinal Business Database of the US Census Bureau. The marginal effect of taxation for growth for a state at the 10th or 25th percentile of corruption is significantly positive; on the other hand, the marginal effects of taxation for growth for a state at the 90th percentile of corruption are much lower across the board. We make progress towards causality through Granger-style tests and by considering periphery counties where effective tax policy is largely driven by bordering states. Finally, we calibrate our model and find that the calibrated taxation rate of 37% is fairly close to the model׳s estimated welfare maximizing taxation rate of 42%. Reducing corruption provides the largest potential impact for welfare gain through its impact on the uses of tax revenues.
21.06.2016 • 25/2016
German Federal Constitutional Court makes right decision on Draghis OMT programme
I welcome the decision by the German Federal Constitutional Court. The court approved OMT (outright monetary transactions), which enables the European Central Bank (ECB) to purchase short-term government bonds in secondary markets in order to stabilize euro member countries in a crisis.
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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.
09.06.2016 • 22/2016
The German Economy Benefits from Strong Domestic Demand
In 2016, the moderate upswing of the German economy continues. Incomes grow due to the steady expansion in employment, and the fall in energy prices has propped up the purchasing power of private households. As a consequence, private consumption expands healthily; investment in housing is additionally stimulated by very low interest rates. Exports, however, expand only moderately, as the world economy is rather weak. All in all, the IWH forecasts the German GDP to expand by 1.8% in this year and by 1.6% in 2017.
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16.03.2016 • 10/2016
German Economy Stays Stable Despite Shaky Environment
The German economy had a good start into the year 2016, in spite of heightened risks for the world economy and political turmoil in Europe. Employment and incomes are expanding, as is internal de-mand, additionally supported by government spending related to the high number of newly arrived refugees. However, sliding sentiment indicates a temporary slow down of the economy during this spring. We assume that the present political tensions inside the European Union can be mitigated in the coming months and that confidence will rise again. All in all, gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to rise by 1.5% in 2016.
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Regulations, institutions and income smoothing by managing technical reserves: international evidence from the insurance industry
Omega, The International Journal of Management Science,
This paper investigates the role of technical reserves in the income smoothing behavior of insurance companies. This is one of the first attempts in the literature to trace such relationship in the insurance industry, especially at a multi-country setting. The experience of 770 insurance firms operating in 87 countries over the period 2000–2009 reveals that there is a significant evidence of income smoothing. The paper also finds that institutional characteristics, e.g., the rule of law, common law legal origin, economic freedom, and regulations relating to technical provisions and supervisory power constrain income smoothing but other factors such as capital requirements, tax deductibility of provisions, auditing, and corporate governance do not have a significant effect.
Transition to Clean Technology
Journal of Political Economy,
We develop an endogenous growth model in which clean and dirty technologies compete in production. Research can be directed to either technology. If dirty technologies are more advanced, the transition to clean technology can be difficult. Carbon taxes and research subsidies may encourage production and innovation in clean technologies, though the transition will typically be slow. We estimate the model using microdata from the US energy sector. We then characterize the optimal policy path that heavily relies on both subsidies and taxes. Finally, we evaluate various alternative policies. Relying only on carbon taxes or delaying intervention has significant welfare costs.
Drei Optionen zur Reform der Einkommensteuer
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Die Belastung der Einkommen mit Steuern und Beiträgen ist in Deutschland im internationalen Vergleich hoch. Ferner nehmen die Steuereinnahmen aufgrund der Steuerprogression im Verhältnis zur Bemessungsgrundlage trendmäßig zu. Um den dadurch zunehmenden ineffizienten Keil zwischen Arbeitgeberkosten und Arbeitnehmerbezügen nicht weiter steigen zu lassen oder sogar zu reduzieren, ist eine Reform des Einkommensteuertarifs erforderlich. In diesem Beitrag werden drei Reformvorschläge unterbreitet, die alle zu einer ähnlichen Gesamtentlastung führen würden, aber unterschiedliche Effizienz- und Verteilungswirkungen haben. Die Entscheidung für einen konkreten Tarifverlauf hängt letztlich von politischen Präferenzen ab.