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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Monetary-fiscal Policy Interaction and Fiscal Inflation: A Tale of Three Countries
European Economic Review,
We study the impact of the interaction between fiscal and monetary policy on the low-frequency relationship between the fiscal stance and inflation using cross-country data from 1965 to 1999. In a first step, we contrast the monetary–fiscal narrative for Germany, the U.S., and Italy with evidence obtained from simple regression models and a time-varying VAR. We find that the low-frequency relationship between the fiscal stance and inflation is low during periods of an independent central bank and responsible fiscal policy and more pronounced in times of non-responsible fiscal policy and accommodative monetary authorities. In a second step, we use an estimated DSGE model to interpret the low-frequency measure structurally and to illustrate the mechanisms through which fiscal actions affect inflation in the long run. The findings from the DSGE model suggest that switches in the monetary–fiscal policy interaction and accompanying variations in the propagation of structural shocks can well account for changes in the low-frequency relationship between the fiscal stance and inflation.
Unemployment and Business Cycles
We develop and estimate a general equilibrium search and matching model that accounts for key business cycle properties of macroeconomic aggregates, including labor market variables. In sharp contrast to leading New Keynesian models, we do not impose wage inertia. Instead we derive wage inertia from our specification of how firms and workers negotiate wages. Our model outperforms a variant of the standard New Keynesian Calvo sticky wage model. According to our estimated model, there is a critical interaction between the degree of price stickiness, monetary policy, and the duration of an increase in unemployment benefits.
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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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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Time-varying Volatility, Financial Intermediation and Monetary Policy
IWH Discussion Papers,
We document that expansionary monetary policy shocks are less effective at stimulating output and investment in periods of high volatility compared to periods of low volatility, using a regime-switching vector autoregression. Exogenous policy changes are identified by adapting an external instruments approach to the non-linear model. The lower effectiveness of monetary policy can be linked to weaker responses of credit costs, suggesting a financial accelerator mechanism that is weaker in high volatility periods.
03.05.2016 • 20/2016
Are Lacking Structural Reforms in the Financial Sector the Underlying Reason for the German Criticism of the ECB?
The major reason for the intense criticism of the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) low-interest-rate policy may be the lack of structural reforms in the German banking system. The resulting persistent fragmentation increases the banking sector’s vulnerability to the low-interest-rate environment. Hence, parts of the banking sector, due to their strong ties to politicians, appear to have successfully influenced public opinion against the ECB.
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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.
On the Low-frequency Relationship Between Public Deficits and Inflation
Journal of Applied Econometrics,
We estimate the low-frequency relationship between fiscal deficits and inflation and pay special attention to its potential time variation by estimating a time-varying vector autoregression model for US data from 1900 to 2011. We find the strongest relationship neither in times of crisis nor in times of high public deficits, but from the mid 1960s up to 1980. Employing a structural decomposition of the low-frequency relationship and further narrative evidence, we interpret our results such that the low-frequency relationship between fiscal deficits and inflation is strongly related to the conduct of monetary policy and its interaction with fiscal policy after World War II.