Coal Phase-out in Germany – Implications and Policies for Affected Regions ...
Can Korea Learn from German Unification?
We first analyze pre-unification similarities and differences between the two Germanys and the two Koreas in terms of demographic, social, political and economic status. An important issue is the degree of international openness. “Stone-age” type communism of North Korea and the seclusion of the population prevented inner-Korean contacts and contacts with rest of the world. This may create enormous adjustment costs if institutions, especially informal institutions, change. We go on by showing how transition and integration interact in a potential unification process based on the World Bank Revised Minimum Standard Model (RMSM) and on the Salter-Swan-Meade model. In doing so, we relate the macro and external impacts on an open economy to its macro-sectoral structural dynamics. The findings suggest that it is of utmost importance to relate microeconomic policies to the macroeconomic ties and side conditions for both parts of the country. Evidence from Germany suggests that the biggest general error in unification was neglecting these limits, especially limitations to policy instruments. Econometric analysis supports these findings. In the empirical part, we consider unification as an “investment” and track down the (by-and-large immediate to medium-term) costs and the (by-and-large long-term) benefits of retooling a retarded communist economy. We conclude that, from a South-Korean
perspective, the Korean unification will become relatively much more expensive than the German unification and, thus, not only economic, but to a much larger degree political considerations must include the tying of neighboring countries into the convergence process. We finally provide, 62 years after Germany’s division and 20 years after unification, an outlook on the strength of economic inertia in order to show that it may take much more than a generation to compensate the damage inflicted by the communist system.
Keeping the Bubble Alive! The Effects of Urban Renewal and Demolition Subsidies in the East German Housing Market
German urban renewal programs are favoring the cities in the Eastern part since the re-unification in 1990. This was accompanied additionally by attractive tax incentives, designed as an accelerated declining balance method of depreciation for housing investments during the late 1990s. The accumulated needs for comfortable housing after 40 years of a disastrous housing policy of the GDR era were generally accepted as justification for the subvention policy. But various subsidies and tax incentives caused a construction boom, false allocations, and a price bubble in Eastern Germany. After recognizing that the expansion of housing supply was not in line with the demographic development and that high vacancy rates were jeopardizing housing companies and their financial backers, policy changed in 2001. Up to now, the government provides demolition grants to reduce the vast oversupply. By means of a real option approach, it is ex-plained how different available forms of subsidies and economic incentives for landlords lift real estate values. The option value representing growth expectations and opportunities is calculated as an observable market value less an estimated fundamental value. Empirical results disclose higher option premiums for cities in Eastern Germany and a strong correlation of the option premium with urban renewal spending.