Are Botswana and Mozambique ready for CMA enlargement?
Botswana Journal of Economics,
The paper elaborates on the appropriateness of a potentially enlarged Common Monetary Area in Southern Africa including Botswana and Mozambique. The theory of optimum currency areas including some extensions by accounting for costs of non-integration and considering the external relations of currency areas are presented. Various indicators such as the structure of the economies, interest rates, inflation rates, exchange rates, factor mobility and trading partners are observed empirically. The paper concludes that current changes in the exchange rate policy of Botswana are expected to lead to increasing, though already high, convergence with CMA countries. Botswana is therefore an appropriate candidate for CMA enlargement. Mozambique is converging towards South Africa but still remains on a lower level. Taking into account the costs of non-integration, however, the target of integration should be formulated for the medium term.
Determinants of employment - the macroeconomic view
Schriften des IWH,
The weak performance of the German labour market over the past years has led to a significant unemployment problem. Currently, on average 4.5 mio. people are without a job contract, and a large part of them are long-term unemployed. A longer period of unemployment reduces their employability and aggravates the problem of social exclusion.
The factors driving the evolution of employment have been recently discussed on the workshop Determinanten der Beschäftigung – die makroökonomische Sicht organized jointly by the IAB, Nuremberg, and the IWH, Halle. The present volume contains the papers and proceedings to the policy oriented workshop held in November 2004, 15-16th. The main focus of the contributions is twofold. First, macroeconomic conditions to stimulate output and employment are considered. Second, the impacts of the increasing tax wedge between labour costs and the take home pay are emphasized. In particular, the role of the contributions to the social security system is investigated.
In his introductory address, Ulrich Walwei (IAB) links the unemployment experience to the modest path of economic growth in Germany. In addition, the low employment intensity of GDP growth and the temporary standstill of the convergence process of the East German economy have contributed to the weak labour market performance. In his analysis, Gebhard Flaig (ifo Institute, München) stresses the importance of relative factor price developments. A higher rate of wage growth leads to a decrease of the employment intensity of production, and correspondingly to an increase of the threshold of employment. Christian Dreger (IWH) discusses the relevance of labour market institutions like employment protection legislation and the structure of the wage bargaining process on the labour market outcome. Compared to the current setting, policies should try to introduce more flexibility in labour markets to improve the employment record. The impact of interest rate shocks on production is examined by the paper of Boris Hofmann (Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt). According to the empirical evidence, monetary policy cannot explain the modest economic performance in Germany. György Barabas and Roland Döhrn (RWI Essen) have simulated the effects of a world trade shock on output and employment. The relationships have been fairly stable over the past years, even in light of the increasing globalization. Income and employment effects of the German tax reform in 2000 are discussed by Peter Haan and Viktor Steiner (DIW Berlin). On the base of a microsimulation model, household gains are determined. Also, a positive relationship between wages and labour supply can be established. Michael Feil und Gerd Zika (IAB) have examined the employment effects of a reduction of the contribution rates to the social security system. To obtain robust results, the analysis is done under alternative financing scenarios and with different macroeconometric models. The impacts of allowances of social security contributions on the incentives to work are discussed by Wolfgang Meister and Wolfgang Ochel (ifo München). According to their study, willingness to work is expected to increase especially at the lower end of the income distribution. The implied loss of contributions could be financed by higher taxes.
The unemployment-growth relationship in transition countries
IWH Discussion Papers,
Does the disappointingly high unemployment in Central and East European countries reflect non-completed adjustment to institutional shocks from transition to a market economy, or is it the result of high labour market rigidities, or rather a syndrome of too weak aggregate demand and output? In the case of transitional causes, unemployment is expected to decline over time. Otherwise, it would pose a challenge to the European Union, particular in case of accession countries, for it jeopardizes the ambitious integration plans of, and may trigger excessive migration to the Union. In order to find out which hypothesis holds 15 years after transition has started, we analyze the unemploymentgrowth dynamics in the eight new member countries from Central-Eastern Europe. The study is based on country and panel regressions with instrument variables (TSLS). The results suggest to declare the transition of labour markets as completed; unemployment responds to output and not to a changing institutional environment for job creation. The regression coefficients report a high trend rate of productivity and a high unemployment intensity of output growth since 1998. The conclusion is that labour market rigidities do not to play an important role in explaining high unemployment rates. Rather, GDP growth is dominated by productivity progress, while the employment relevant component of aggregate demand is too low to reduce substantially the high level of unemployment.
Cross-border bank mergers: What lures the rare animal?
Journal of Banking and Finance,
Although domestic mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the financial services industry have increased steadily over the past two decades, international M&As were until recently relatively rare. Moreover, the share of cross-border mergers in the banking industry is low compared with other industries. This paper uses a novel dataset of over 3000 mergers that took place between 1985 and 2001 to analyze the determinants of international bank mergers. We test the extent to which information costs and regulations hold back merger activity. Our results suggest that information costs significantly impede cross-border bank mergers. Regulations also influence cross-border bank merger activity. Hence, policy makers can create environments that encourage cross-border activity, but information cost barriers must be overcome even in (legally) integrated markets.
Why do we have an interbank money market?
IWH Discussion Papers,
The interbank money market plays a key role in the execution of monetary policy. Hence, it is important to know the functioning of this market and the determinants of the interbank money market rate. In this paper, we develop an interbank money market model with a heterogeneous banking sector. We show that besides for balancing daily liquidity fluctuations banks participate in the interbank market because they have different marginal costs of obtaining funds from the central bank. In the euro area, which we refer to, these cost differences occur because banks have different marginal cost of collateral which they need to hold to obtain funds from the central bank. Banks with relatively low marginal costs act as intermediaries between the central bank and banks with relatively high marginal costs. The necessary positive spread between the interbank market rate and the central bank rate is determined by transaction costs and credit risk in the interbank market, total liquidity needs of the banking sector, costs of obtaining funds from the central bank, and the distribution of the latter across banks.
Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand
Quarterly Journal of Economics,
This paper examines how personal bankruptcy and bankruptcy exemptions affect the supply and demand for credit. While generous state-level bankruptcy exemptions are probably viewed by most policy-makers as benefiting less-well-off borrowers, our results using data from the 1983 Survey of Consumer Finances suggest that they increase the amount of credit held by high-asset households and reduce the availability and amount of credit to low-asset households, conditioning on observable characteristics. Thus, bankruptcy exemptions redistribute credit toward borrowers with high assets. Interest rates on automobile loans for low-asset households also appear to be higher in high exemption states.