Conditional Macroeconomic Forecasts: Disagreement, Revisions and Forecast Errors
IWH Discussion Papers,
Using data from the European Central Bank‘s Survey of Professional Forecasters, we analyse the role of ex-ante conditioning variables for macroeconomic forecasts. In particular, we test to which extent the heterogeneity, updating and ex-post performance of predictions for inflation, real GDP growth and the unemployment rate are related to assumptions about future oil prices, exchange rates, interest rates and wage growth. Our findings indicate that inflation forecasts are closely associated with oil price expectations, whereas expected interest rates are used primarily to predict output growth and unemployment. Expectations about exchange rates and wage growth also matter for macroeconomic forecasts, albeit less so than oil prices and interest rates. We show that survey participants can considerably improve forecast accuracy for macroeconomic outcomes by reducing prediction errors for external conditions. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the expectation formation process of experts.
Labor in the Boardroom
Quarterly Journal of Economics,
We estimate the wage effects of shared governance, or codetermination, in the form of a mandate of one-third of corporate board seats going to worker representatives. We study a reform in Germany that abruptly abolished this mandate for stock corporations incorporated after August 1994, while it locked the mandate for the slightly older cohorts. Our research design compares firm cohorts incorporated before the reform and after; in a robustness check we draw on the analogous difference in unaffected firm types (LLCs). We find no effects of board-level codetermination on wages and the wage structure, even in firms with particularly flexible wages. The degree of rent sharing and the labor share are also unaffected. We reject that disinvestment could have offset wage effects through the canonical hold-up channel, as shared governance, if anything, increases capital formation.
15.04.2021 • 12/2021
Economy in East Germany shrank less than in the West, but will have weaker momentum when pandemic disappears – Implications of the Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2021 and new data for East Germany
At 3%, the increase in gross domestic product in eastern Germany in 2021 is likely to be lower than in Germany as a whole (3.7%), as the slump due to the pandemic was smaller in 2020. In the course of the economic recovery in the second half of the year, the unemployment rate is expected to fall slightly.
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08.04.2021 • 10/2021
IWH Bankruptcy Update: Bankruptcy Statistics Rise Again in March
The number of firms declaring bankruptcy in Germany increased once again in March. However, the number of jobs impacted by the bankruptcy of large firms remained constant. The IWH Bankruptcy Report, published by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), provides a monthly update on German bankruptcy statistics.
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11.03.2021 • 8/2021
New wave of infections suspends economic recovery
The lockdown is being eased only slightly in Germany in March 2021, and gross domestic product (GDP) declines significantly in the first quarter of 2021. As vaccination campaigns progress and restrictions are gradually eased, a normalisation of household consumption patterns will likely boost the economy later during the year. The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts that GDP will increase by 3.7% in 2021, following a decline of 4.9% in 2020. In East Germany, both the contraction and the rebound are much less pronounced.
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Private Equity in the Hospital Industry
ECGI Working Paper,
We examine employment and patient outcomes at hospitals acquired by private equity (PE) firms and PE-backed hospitals. While employment declines at PE-acquired hospitals, core medical workers (physicians, nurses, and pharmacists) increase significantly. The proportion of wages paid to core workers increases at PE-acquired hospitals whereas the proportion paid to administrative employees declines. These results are most pronounced for deals where the acquirers are publicly traded PE-backed hospitals. Non-PE-backed acquirers also cut employment but do not increase core workers or reduce administrative expenditures. Finally, PE-backed acquirers are not associated with worse patient satisfaction or mortality rates compared to their non-PE-backed counterparts.
Public Bank Guarantees and Allocative Efficiency
Journal of Monetary Economics,
A natural experiment and matched bank/firm data are used to identify the effects of bank guarantees on allocative efficiency. We find that with guarantees in place unproductive firms receive larger loans, invest more, and maintain higher rates of sales and wage growth. Moreover, firms produce less productively. Firms also survive longer in banks’ portfolios and those that enter guaranteed banks’ portfolios are less profitable and productive. Finally, we observe fewer economy-wide firm exits and bankruptcy filings in the presence of guarantees. Overall, the results are consistent with the idea that guaranteed banks keep unproductive firms in business for too long.
Decentralisation of Collective Bargaining: A Path to Productivity?
IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers,
Productivity developments have been rather divergent across EU countries and particularly between Central Eastern Europe (CEE) and elsewhere in the continent (non-CEE). How is such phenomenon related to wage bargaining institutions? Starting from the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) shock, we analyse whether the specific set-up of wage bargaining prevailing in non-CEE may have helped their respective firms to sustain productivity in the aftermath of the crisis. To tackle the issue, we merge the CompNet dataset – of firm-level based productivity indicators – with the Wage Dynamics Network (WDN) survey on wage bargaining institutions. We show that there is a substantial difference in the institutional set-up between the two above groups of countries. First, in CEE countries the bulk of the wage bargaining (some 60%) takes place outside collective bargaining schemes. Second, when a collective bargaining system is adopted in CEE countries, it is prevalently in the form of firm-level bargaining (i. e. the strongest form of decentralisation), while in non-CEE countries is mostly subject to multi-level bargaining (i. e. an intermediate regime, only moderately decentralised). On productivity impacts, we show that firms’ TFP in the non-CEE region appears to have benefitted from the chosen form of decentralisation, while no such effects are detectable in CEE countries. On the channels of transmission, we show that decentralisation in non-CEE countries is also negatively correlated with dismissals and with unit labour costs, suggesting that such collective bargaining structure may have helped to better match workers with firms’ needs.