04.03.2019 • 6/2019
New IWH publication takes stock: “United country – three decades after the Wall came down”
How is Germany’s economy faring 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall? A new publication by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) uses illustrative maps and graphs to show how the Federal Republic has developed compared to other countries and how economic unification has progressed. The publication presents many new findings, including on productivity differences between east and west, urban and rural development, as well as the availability of skilled labour.
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United Country – Three Decades After the Wall Came Down
The Berlin Wall, once the symbol of the divided Germany, has now been gone for longer than it ever existed. But the differences within the country are still visible. However, recent research suggests that different economic development does not always follow the former inner-German border. Apart from the west-east divide, differences also emerge between the south and the north or between the cities and the country.
11.02.2019 • 3/2019
No-deal Brexit would hit the German labour market particularly hard
The United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a deal would have consequences for international trade and labour markets in many countries, including outside Europe. Calculations by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) indicate: More than 600,000 jobs may be affected worldwide, but nowhere as many as in Germany.
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The Joint Dynamics of Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields
Journal of Banking and Finance,
Can a negative shock to sovereign ratings invoke a vicious cycle of increasing government bond yields and further downgrades, ultimately pushing a country toward default? The narratives of public and political discussions, as well as of some widely cited papers, suggest this possibility. In this paper, we will investigate the possible existence of such a vicious cycle. We find no evidence of a bad long-run equilibrium and cannot confirm a feedback loop leading into default as a transitory state for all but the very worst ratings. We use a bivariate semiparametric dynamic panel model to reproduce the joint dynamics of sovereign ratings and government bond yields. The individual equations resemble Pesaran-type cointegration models, which allow for valid interference regardless of whether the employed variables display unit-root behavior. To incorporate most of the empirical features previously documented (separately) in the literature, we allow for different long-run relationships in both equations, nonlinearities in the level effects of ratings, and asymmetric effects in changes of ratings and yields. Our finding of a single good equilibrium implies the slow convergence of ratings and yields toward this equilibrium. However, the persistence of ratings is sufficiently high that a rating shock can have substantial costs if it occurs at a highly speculative rating or lower. Rating shocks that drive the rating below this threshold can increase the interest rate sharply, and for a long time. Yet, simulation studies based on our estimations show that it is highly improbable that rating agencies can be made responsible for the most dramatic spikes in interest rates.
27.09.2018 • 18/2018
Joint Economic Forecast Autumn 2018: Upturn Loses Momentum
Berlin, 27 September – Germany’s leading economics research institutes have downwardly revised their forecasts for 2018 and 2019. They now expect economic output to increase by 1.7 percent in 2018, and not 2.2 percent as forecast in spring. They also scaled back their 2019 forecast slightly from 2.0 to 1.9 percent. These are the results of the Joint Economic Forecast for autumn 2018 that will be presented in Berlin on Thursday.
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14.12.2017 • 39/2017
Cyclical upswing in Germany and in the world
At the turn of the year, the cyclical upswing in Germany continues. Gross domestic product is expected to increase by 2.2% in 2017, and because this year has seen significantly fewer working days than before, the rate of change amounts, adjusted for calendar effects, to even 2.5%. “The upswing is broad-based”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department Macroeconomics and IWH vice president. “For quite a long time now, significant increases in employment have been driving private incomes, consumption and housing construction. The latter was, in addition, stimulated by low interest rates.” Currently, German exports are benefiting from the vivid international economy. Not least since monetary policy in the euro area remains expansionary for the time being, we expect the upturn to continue in 2018 and production to increase again by 2.2%. Consumer price inflation is, with 1.7%, still moderate in both 2017 and 2018. Although domestic price pressures are on the rise, the effects of the energy price increase in 2017 expire in 2018, and the appreciation of the euro in the summer of 2017 will dampen price dynamics.
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Coming to Work While Sick: An Economic Theory of Presenteeism With an Application to German Data
Oxford Economic Papers,
Presenteeism, i.e. attending work while sick, is widespread and associated with significant costs. Still, economic analyses of this phenomenon are rare. In a theoretical model, we show that presenteeism arises due to differences between workers in (healthrelated) disutility from workplace attendance. As these differences are unobservable by employers, they set wages that incentivise sick workers to attend work. Using a large representative German data set, we test several hypotheses derived from our model. In line with our predictions, we find that bad health status and stressful working conditions are positively related to presenteeism. Better dismissal protection, captured by higher tenure, is associated with slightly fewer presenteeism days, whereas the role of productivity and skills is inconclusive.