How Forecast Accuracy Depends on Conditioning Assumptions
This paper examines the extent to which errors in economic forecasts are driven by initial assumptions that prove to be incorrect ex post. Therefore, we construct a new data set comprising an unbalanced panel of annual forecasts from different institutions forecasting German GDP and the underlying assumptions. We explicitly control for different forecast horizons to proxy the information available at the release date. Over 75% of squared errors of the GDP forecast comove with the squared errors in their underlying assumptions. The root mean squared forecast error for GDP in our regression sample of 1.52% could be reduced to 1.13% by setting all assumption errors to zero. This implies that the accuracy of the assumptions is of great importance and that forecasters should reveal the framework of their assumptions in order to obtain useful policy recommendations based on economic forecasts.
26.06.2019 • 14/2019
Studie: Wie Finanzkrisen Menschen unzufriedener machen und wie sich das verhindern lässt
Finanzkrisen haben nicht nur starke Verwerfungen im ökonomischen System zur Folge: Sie beeinflussen auch direkt die Lebenszufriedenheit der Menschen. Am stärksten betroffen sind die Schwachen der Gesellschaft, auch wenn diese unter Umständen gar nicht selbst mit Aktien spekulieren. Das ist das Ergebnis einer neuen Studie der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) und des Leibniz-Instituts für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle (IWH). Diese negativen Folgen könnten die Kauflust der Menschen schmälern und die Wirkung der Krise sogar noch verstärken. Die Studie wurde kürzlich in der Fachzeitschrift „The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy“ veröffentlicht.
Does Administrative Status Matter for Urban Growth? – Evidence from Present and Former County Capitals in East Germany
Growth and Change,
Public sector activities are often neglected in the economic approaches used to analyze the driving forces behind urban growth. The institutional status of a regional capital is a crucial aspect of public sector activities. This paper reports on a quasi-natural experiment on county towns in East Germany. Since 1990, cities in East Germany have demonstrated remarkable differences in population development. During this same period, many towns have lost their status as a county seat due to several administrative reforms. Using a difference-in-difference approach, the annual population development of former county capitals is compared to population change in towns that have successfully held on to their capital status throughout the observed period. The estimations show that maintaining county capital status has a statistically significant positive effect on annual changes in population. This effect is furthermore increasing over time after the implementation of the respective reforms.
Economic Transition in Unified Germany and Implications for Korea
H.-G. Jeong and G. Heimpold (eds.): Economic Transition in Unified Germany and Implications for Korea. Policy References 17-13. Sejong: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy,
The reunification of Germany, which marked the end of the Cold War in the 20th century, is regarded as one of the most exemplary cases of social integration in human history. Nearly three decades after the German reunification, the economic and social shocks that occurred at the beginning of the reunification process have largely been resolved. Moreover, the unified Germany has grown into one of the most advanced economies in the world.
The unification process that Germany underwent may not necessarily be the way that the Republic of Korea would choose. However, the economic and social exchanges between East and West Germany prior to unification, and the cooperation in a myriad of policies based on these exchanges, served as the crucial foundation for unification. The case of Germany will surely help us find a better way for the re-unification of the Korean Peninsula.
In this context, this is the first edition of a joint research which provides diverse insights on social and economic issues during the process of unification. It consists of nine chapters whose main topics include policies on macroeconomic stabilization, the privatization of state-owned enterprises in East Germany, labor policies and the migration of labor, integration of the social safety nets of the North and South, and securing finances for reunification. To start with, the first part covers macroeconomic stabilization measures, which include policies implemented by the federal government of Germany to overcome macroeconomic shocks directly after the reunification. There was a temporary setback in the economy at the initial phase of reunification as the investment per GDP went down and the level of fiscal debt escalated, reverting to its original trend prior to the reunification. While it appears the momentum for growth was compromised by reunification from the perspective of growth rate of real GDP, this state did not last long and benefits have outpaced the costs since 2000.
In the section which examines the privatization of state-owned enterprises in East Germany, an analysis was conducted on the modernization of industrial infrastructure of East German firms. There was a surge in investment in East German area at the beginning stages but this was focused on a specific group of firms. Most of the firms were privatized through unofficial channels, with a third of these conducted in a management buy-out (MBO) process that was highly effective. Further analysis of a firm called Jenoptik, which was successfully bailed out, is incorporated as to draw implications of its accomplishments.
In the section on migration, we examine how the gap between the unemployment rates in the West and East have narrowed as the population flow shifted from the West to East. Consequently, there was no significant deviation in terms of the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) per capita in each state of East Germany. However, as the labor market stabilized in East Germany and population flows have weakened, the deviation will become larger. Meanwhile, if we make a prediction about the movement of population between the North and the South, which show a remarkable difference in their economic circumstances, a radical reunification process such as Germany’s case would force 7% of the population of the North to move towards the South. Upon reunification, the estimated unemployment rate in North Korea would remain at least 30% for the time being. In order to reduce the initial unemployment rate, it is crucial to design a program that trains the unemployed and to build a system that predicts changes in labor demand.
It seems nearly impossible to apply the social safety nets of the South to the North, as there is a systemic difference in ideologies. Taking steps toward integration would be the most suitable option in the case of the Koreas. We propose to build a sound groundwork for stabilizing the interest rates and exchange rates, maintain stable fiscal policies, raise momentum for economic growth and make sure people understand the means required to financially support the North in order to reduce the gap between the two.
This book was jointly organized and edited by Dr. Hyung-gon Jeong of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) and Dr. Gerhard Heimpold of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). We believe that this report, which examines numerous social and economic agendas that emerged during the reunification of Germany, will provide truly important reference for both Koreas. It is also our view that it will serve as a stepping-stone to establish policies in regard to South-North exchanges across numerous sectors prior to discussions of reunification. KIEP will continue to work with IWH and contribute its expertise to the establishment of grounds for unification policies.
Endogenous Institution Formation in Public Good Games: The Effect of Economic Education
In a public good experiment, the paper analyses to which extent individuals with economic education behave differently in a second-order dilemma. Second-order dilemmas may arise, when individuals endogenously build up costly institutions that help to overcome a public good problem (first-order dilemma). The specific institution used in the experiment is a communication platform allowing for group communication before the first-order public good game takes place. The experimental results confirm the finding of the literature that economists tend to free ride more intensively in public good games than non-economists. The difference is the strongest in the end-game phase, yielding in the conclusion that the magnitude of the end-game effect depends on the share of economists in the pool of participants. When it comes to the building-up of institutions, the individual efficiency gain of the institution and its inherent cost function constitute the driving forces for the contribution behaviour. Providing an investment friendly environment yields in economists contributing more to the institution than non-economists. Therefore, we make clear that first-order results of a simple public good game cannot be simply applied for second-order incentive problems.
The Research Data Centre of the Halle Institute for Economic Research – Member of the Leibniz Association FDZ-IWH
Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik,
The Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) was founded in 1992 and operates three research departments: Macroeconomics, Financial Markets, and Structural Change and Productivity. The IWH’s research structure is designed to foster close interplay between micro and macroeconomic research, however it has its roots in the empirical research conducted on the transition from a planned to a market economy, with a particular focus on East Germany.
The Political Determinants of Government Bond Holdings
Journal of International Money and Finance,
This paper analyzes the link between political factors and sovereign bond holdings of US investors in 60 countries over the 2003–2013 period. We find that, in general, US investors hold more bonds in countries with few political constraints on the government. Moreover, US investors respond to increased uncertainty around major elections by reducing government bond holdings. These effects are particularly significant in democratic regimes and countries with sound institutions, which enable effective implementation of fiscal consolidation measures or economic reforms. In countries characterized by high current default risk or a sovereign default history, US investors show a tendency towards favoring higher political constraints as this makes sovereign default more difficult for the government. Political instability, characterized by the fluctuation in political veto players, reduces US investment in government bonds. This effect is more pronounced in countries with low sovereign solvency.
11.04.2017 • 18/2017
Pionierkunde Staat: Wie die öffentliche Nachfrage private Innovationen antreiben kann
Gerade in technologieintensiven Branchen kann der Staat durch seine Nachfrage den privaten Markt erweitern – und Anreize für privatwirtschaftliche Forschung und Entwicklung setzen, erklärt Viktor Slavtchev vom Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle (IWH).
05.01.2017 • 3/2017
Sekretariat des Forschungsnetzwerks CompNet künftig am IWH beheimatet
Das Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle (IWH) hat das Sekretariat des Competitiveness Research Network CompNet übernommen, einem internationalen Netzwerk führender Wissenschaftler und Wissenschaftlerinnen sowie Fachleute, die erstklassige Forschung und Politikberatung auf den Gebieten der Wettbewerbsfähigkeit und Produktivität betreiben.