26.06.2019 • 14/2019
Study: How financial crises lower life satisfaction and how to prevent this
Financial crises not only result in severe disruptions to the economic system, they also affect people’s life satisfaction. A new study by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) shows that weaker members of society are more affected by increased uncertainty during crisis times, even if they may not be speculating on the stock market themselves. This could potentially also lower their propensity to consume, thereby intensifying the impact of a financial crisis. The study was recently published in “The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy”.
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13.06.2019 • 12/2019
Weak foreign demand – economic downturn in Germany
In the summer of 2019, uncertainty due to ongoing trade disputes weighs on the global economy. The export-oriented German economy is particularly affected. According to IWH summer economic forecast, gross domestic product is expected to increase by only 0.5% in 2019; the forecast for East Germany is 0.8%. The German labour market remains largely robust despite the economic downturn.
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Structural Interpretation of Vector Autoregressions with Incomplete Identification: Revisiting the Role of Oil Supply and Demand Shocks
American Economic Review,
Traditional approaches to structural vector autoregressions (VARs) can be viewed as special cases of Bayesian inference arising from very strong prior beliefs. These methods can be generalized with a less restrictive formulation that incorporates uncertainty about the identifying assumptions themselves. We use this approach to revisit the importance of shocks to oil supply and demand. Supply disruptions turn out to be a bigger factor in historical oil price movements and inventory accumulation a smaller factor than implied by earlier estimates. Supply shocks lead to a reduction in global economic activity after a significant lag, whereas shocks to oil demand do not.
National Culture and Risk-taking: Evidence from the Insurance Industry
Journal of Business Research,
The gravity of insurance within the financial sector is constantly increasing. Reasonably, after the events of the recent financial turmoil, the domain of research that examines the factors driving the risk-taking of this industry has been signified. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the interplay between national culture and risk of insurance firms. We quantify the cultural overtones, measuring national culture considering the dimensions outlined by the Hofstede model and risk-taking using the ‘Z-score’. In a sample consisting of 801 life and non-life insurance firms operating across 42 countries over the period 2007–2016, we find a strong and significant relationship among insurance firms' risk-taking and cultural characteristics, such as individualism, uncertainty avoidance and power distance. Results remain robust to a variety of firm and country-specific controls, alternative measures of risk, sample specifications and tests designed to alleviate endogeneity.
Elevated Uncertainty during the Financial Crisis: Do Effects on Subjective Well-being Differ across European Countries?
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy,
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 18 countries over the period 2000–2013. 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, unemployed, 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.
Monetary Policy Communication: Frameworks and Market Impact
A. Schipke, M. Rodlauer, L. Zhang (eds.), The Future of China's Bond Market. Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund,
Bond markets are an important conduit of monetary policy signals to the economy. Reforms that improve the functioning of bond markets will hence facilitate macroeconomic management effectiveness. Here communication plays an increasingly important role. Good monetary policy communication is not only important to improve the effectiveness of monetary policy in the first place, but by reducing uncertainty it makes bond markets more attractive for investors, further improving monetary transmission.
07.03.2019 • 7/2019
German economy will pick up speed only slowly
In winter of 2018/2019, the global economy weakened considerably, mainly due to economic policy risks. In Germany, the economy will pick up speed only slowly. According to IWH spring economic forecast, gross domestic product will increase by 0.5% in 2019. Growth in East Germany will amount to 0.7%.
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Political Influence and Financial Flexibility: Evidence from China
Journal of Banking & Finance,
This paper investigates how political influence affects firms’ financial flexibility and speed of adjustment toward target leverage ratios. We find that at the macro level, firms in environments with high political advantages, proxied by provincial affiliations with heads of state as well as political status and party rank of provincial leaders, adjust faster. At the micro level, firms that are state-owned, have CPC members as executives, or bear low exposure to changes in political uncertainty adjust faster. When interacted, the micro-level political factors have more significant impact.
13.12.2018 • 21/2018
Economic activity in the world and in Germany is losing momentum
In the second half of 2018, the upturn of the German economy has stalled. Production of the automotive industry declined because of delays in switching production to WLTP compliant cars. Irrespectively of this, the German export business has been weakening since the beginning of the year, since the global economy, burdened by the political uncertainties surrounding trade conflicts, the impending Brexit and the conflict over the Italian budget, was unable to keep up with the high momentum of 2017. “It is to be expected that the less benign external environment will not only dampen exports, but will also impact on companies’ investment and hiring decisions”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). Gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.5% in 2018 and by 1.4% in 2019, which is roughly equal to the growth rate of economic capacity in Germany.
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Inference in Structural Vector Autoregressions when the Identifying Assumptions are not Fully Believed: Re-evaluating the Role of Monetary Policy in Economic Fluctuations
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Point estimates and error bands for SVARs that are set identified are only justified if the researcher is persuaded that some parameter values are a priori more plausible than others. When such prior information exists, traditional approaches can be generalized to allow for doubts about the identifying assumptions. We use information about both structural coefficients and impacts of shocks and propose a new asymmetric t-distribution for incorporating information about signs in a nondogmatic way. We apply these methods to a three-variable macroeconomic model and conclude that monetary policy shocks are not the major driver of output, inflation, or interest rates.