Thou Shalt not Bear False Witness Against Your Customers: Cultural Norms and the Volkswagen Scandal
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper investigates whether cultural norms shaped by religion drive consumer decisions after a corporate scandal. We exploit the unexpected notice of violation by the US Environmental Protection Agency in September 2015, accusing the car producer Volkswagen (VW) to have used software to manipulate car emission values during test phases. Using a difference-in-difference model, we show that new registrations of VW (diesel) cars decline significantly in German counties with a high share of Protestants following the VW scandal. Our results suggest that the enforcement culture rooted in Protestantism affects consumer decisions and penalises corporate fraud.
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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IWH FDI Micro Database
IWH FDI Micro Database The IWH FDI Micro Database (FDI = Foreign Direct...
The Joint Dynamics of Sovereign Ratings and Government Bond Yields
Journal of Banking & 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.
The New Europe
The new Europe The financial crisis is largely over, yet confidence in the ECB and EU...
Four Research Clusters ...
Joint Economic Forecast
Joint Economic Forecast The joint economic forecast is an instrument for evaluating...
The Euro Plus Pact: Competitiveness and External Capital Flows in the EU Countries
Journal of Common Market Studies,
The Euro Plus Pact was approved by the European Union countries in March 2011. The pact stipulates various measures to strengthen competitiveness with the ultimate aim of preventing accumulation of unsustainable external imbalances. This article uses Granger causality tests to assess the short-term linkages between changes in relative unit labour costs and changes in the current account balance for the period 1995–2011. The main finding is that changes in the current account balance precede changes in relative unit labour costs, while there is no discernible effect in the opposite direction. This suggests that capital flows from the European core to the periphery contributed to the divergence in unit labour costs across Europe prior to the global financial crisis. The results also suggest that the measures to restrain unit labour costs may have only limited effect on the current account balance in the short term.