A Macroeconomist’s View on EU Governance Reform: Why and How to Establish Policy Coordination?
This paper discusses the need for macroeconomic policy coordination in the E(M)U. Coordination of national policies with cross-border effects does not exist at the macroeconomic level, although requested by the EU Treaty. The need for coordination stems from current account imbalances, which origin in market-induced capital flows, destabilizing the real exchange rates between low and high wage countries. The recent attempts of the Commission and the European Council to reform E(M)U governance do not address this problem and thus remain incapable to protect against future instability.
What Drives FDI in Central-eastern Europe? Evidence from the IWH-FDI-Micro Database
The focus of this paper is on the match between strategic motives of foreign investments into Central-Eastern Europe and locational advantages offered by these countries. Our analysis makes use of the IWH-FDI-Micro Database, a unique dataset that contains information from 2009 about the determinants of locational factors, technological activity of the subsidiaries, and the potentials for knowledge spillovers in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. The analysis suggests that investors in these countries are mainly interested in low (unit) labour costs coupled with a well-trained and educated workforce and an expanding market with the high growth rates in the purchasing power of potential buyers. It also suggests that the financial crisis reduced the attractiveness of the region as a source for localised knowledge and technology. There appears to be a match between investors’ expectations and the quantitative supply of unqualified labour, not however for the supply of medium qualified workers. But the analysis suggests that it is not technology-seeking investments that are particularly content with the capabilities of their host economies in terms of technological cooperation. Finally, technological cooperation within the local host economy is assessed more favourably with domestic firms than with local scientific institutions – an important message for domestic economic policy.
Challenges for Future Regional Policy in East Germany. Does East Germany really show Characteristics of Mezzogiorno?
A. Kuklinski; E. Malak-Petlicka; P. Zuber (eds), Souther Italy – Eastern Germany – Eastern Poland. The Triple Mezzogiorno? Ministry of Regional Development,
Despite extensive government support the gap between East and West Germany has still not been successfully closed nearly 20 years post German unification. Hence, some economists tend to compare East Germany with Mezzogiorno – underdeveloped Southern Italy. East Germany is still subject to sever structural problems in comparison to West Germany: lower per capita income, lower productivity, higher unemployment rates, fewer firm headquarters and fewer innovation activities. There are East German regions with less than desirable rates of development. Nevertheless, the new federal states have shown some evidence of a convergence process. Some regions have developed very positively – they have improved their competitiveness and employment levels. As such, the comparison of East Germany with Mezzogiorno does not seem applicable today.
According to Neoclassical Growth Theory, regional policy is targeted enhancing investment (hereafter the notion ‘investment policy’ is used). has been the most important instrument in forcing the ‘reconstruction of the East’. Overall, the investment policy is seen as having been successful. It is not, however, the only factor influencing regional development – political policy makers noted in the mid 1990s that research and development (R&D) activities and regional concentrated production networks, amongst other factors, may also play a part. The investment policy instrument has therefore been adjusted. Nevertheless, it cannot be excluded that investment policy may fail in particular cases because it contains potentially conflicting targets. A ‘better road’ for future regional policy may lie in the support of regional production and innovation networks – the so-called industrial clusters. These clusters would need to be exactingly identified however to ensure effective and efficient cluster policies.
The relationship between unemployment and output in post-communist countries
Unemployment is still disappointingly high in most Central and East European countries, and might be a reflection of the ongoing adjustment to institutional shocks resulting from systemic transition, or it may be caused by high labour market rigidity, or aggregate demand that is too weak. In this paper we have investigated the dynamics of unemployment and output in those eight post-communist countries, which entered the EU in 2004. We used a model related to Okun’s Law; i.e. the first differences in unemployment rates were regressed on GDP growth rates. We estimated country and panel regressions with instrument variables (TSLS) and applied a few tests to the data and regression results. We assume transition of labour markets to be accomplished when a robust relationship exists between unemployment rate changes and GDP growth. Moreover, the estimated coefficients contain information about labour market rigidity and unemployment thresholds of output growth. Our results suggest that the transition of labour markets can be regarded as completed since unemployment responds to output changes and not to a changing institutional environment that destroys jobs in the state sector. The regression coefficients have demonstrated that a high trend rate of productivity and a high unemployment intensity of output growth have been occurring since 1998. Therefore, we conclude that labour market rigidities do not play an important role in explaining high unemployment rates. However, GDP growth is dominated by productivity progress and the employment-relevant component of aggregate demand is too low to reduce the high level of unemployment substantially.