DIW Roundup http://www.diw.de/de/diw_01.c.433615.de/presse/diw_roundup/diw_roundup.html/ DIW Roundup de-de http://diw.de/sixcms/media.php/37/thumbnails/diw_roundup225.jpg.480210.jpeg DIW Berlin http://diw.de/ Capital market integration and macroeconomic stability http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.569121.de After the establishment of the Banking Union, the European Commission is working on measures to foster capital market deepening in Europe. Key goals for a European Capital Markets Union are to provide firms with alternative funding sources to bank credit and to make economies more resilient to local shocks through better international risk sharing. While open capital markets can improve portfolio diversification, growth and welfare, the recent financial crisis was a reminder that capital market integration also carries risks in terms of economic stability. This article summarizes pros and cons of capital market openness and discusses stability implications of different forms of capital market integration.

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 02:28:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.569121.de
The use of financial market variables in forecasting http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.569173.de Financial market indicators can provide valuable information for forecasting macroeconomic developments. In response to the global financial crisis of 2007/2008, the role of financial variables for forecasting has been revisited, and new empirical and theoretical forecasting methods able to explicitly incorporate financial market information have been developed. This roundup discusses characteristics of financial variable movements and the relation to business cycles. It furthermore summarizes some of the new theoretical and empirical approaches at hand for forecasting macroeconomic variables with financial market information, and highlights main challenges forecasters willing to consider financial market information in forecasting exercises have to face.

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 10:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.569173.de
Microenterprises in Developing Countries: Is there Growth Potential? http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.566624.de Microenterprises account for a large fraction of employment in developing countries and they are likely to increase in importance in the future. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, around 8 million additional jobs need to be created annually in order to cope with the increasing number of new entrants into the labour market (The World Bank, 2013). As microenterprises typically only provide subsistence income to few individuals the question remains whether they have the potential to grow and to contribute to the creation of jobs.

Studies suggest that many businesses do indeed have the potential to grow. However, they often lack the necessary funds due to imperfect credit markets, insufficient household savings or behavioral reasons and missing information to exploit their potential. Policy interventions to overcome these issues show some promising results. 

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.566624.de
Does more education protect against mental health problems? http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.565260.de Mental health conditions are a leading cause of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and health costs worldwide: They account for 199 million DALYs or 37 percent of healthy life years lost from non-communicable diseases. The sum of direct and indirect costs worldwide were estimated to amount to 2.5 trillion US dollars in 2010 and projected to increase to 6 trillion US dollars in 2030 (Bloom et al., 2010).
The heavy financial and societal burdens of mental health impairments also mean that prevention measures to alleviate these problems will have high financial and societal returns. Education has been theorized to be such a prevention measure. This DIW Roundup reviews contemporaneous research on the causal effect of education on mental health.

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 10:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.565260.de
Effizienzanalysen frühkindlicher Bildungs- und Betreuungsangebote: Mehr differenzierte Analysen für Deutschland erforderlich http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.562778.de Vor dem Hintergrund knapper öffentlicher Ressourcen bilden Effizienzanalysen ein zentrales Instrument im Prozess der politischen Entscheidungsfindung. Durch die Gegenüberstellung von Kosten und Nutzen können sie die Frage beantworten, ob und in welche frühkindlichen Bildungs- und Betreuungsangebote investiert werden sollte. Dieser Roundup zeigt methodische Herausforderungen auf und gibt einen Überblick über bestehende Effizienzanalysen im Bereich frühkindlicher Bildungs- und Betreuungsangebote in den USA und Deutschland. 

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.562778.de
Wind power: mitigated and imposed external costs and other indirect economic effects http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.556794.de Since the 1990s, (onshore) wind power has become an important technology for electricity generation throughout the world. The economic rationale is the mitigation of negative externalities of conventional technologies, in particular emissions from fossil fuel combustion. However, wind power itself is not free of externalities. Wind turbines are alleged visual and noise impacts as well as threats to wildlife. Further indirect economic effects comprise costs for integrating variable wind electricity into the power system. Economic outcomes, such as employment and GDP, can be positively or negatively affected both locally and nationally. This Roundup summarizes evidence from multiple literatures on mitigated and imposed external costs and further indirect economic effects.

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:31:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.556794.de
The Natural Rate of Interest and Secular Stagnation http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.551175.de In many advanced economies, there has been a declining trend in interest rates over the past thirty years. Since the financial crisis, interest rates have remained particularly low. Though a decrease in inflation explains part of the fall in nominal interest rates, there is also a clear downtrend in real interest rates. Against this backdrop, a debate has emerged over the factors that might have contributed to this decline. Potential persistent factors discussed under the heading of “secular stagnation” include a decline in profitable investment opportunities and high global savings rates. It is often argued that, due to these factors, the so-called natural interest rate, which is the level of interest rate consistent with stable, non-inflationary growth, has decreased. However, there are also arguments that the low interest rates are transitory and are due to factors such as post-crisis private debt deleveraging, a temporary “savings glut”, or higher regulatory burdens for firms and households. This report summarizes the discussion on the underlying causes of the low interest rate environment and the potential for a period of secular stagnation.

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.551175.de
The Natural Rate of Interest II: Empirical Overview http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.551089.de The concept of the natural rate of interest (NRI) dates back to Wicksell (1898) and has since then been highly debated in the economic literature. In practice, estimates of the NRI can be employed as a versatile tool for macroeconomic analysis and are a core element within the popular neo-Wicksellian (or New-Keynesian) framework. The real rate gap, i.e. the difference between the actual interest rate and the NRI, provides valuable information about the state of the economy and can help policy makers to adjust the monetary policy stance. However, the NRI cannot be directly observed and has to be calculated from other economic data. While the empirical literature provides various estimation approaches, all of them are subject to serious measurement problems and yield fairly uncertain estimates. This Roundup reviews the advantages and shortcomings of the most popular measurement methods and presents an estimation of the NRI and the real rate gap based on the Laubach and Williams (2003) model. 

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.551089.de
The Natural Rate of Interest I: Theory http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.551037.de The term natural (or neutral) real interest rate refers to the equilibrium value of the real interest rate. As this equilibrium is usually conceived as a situation where inflationary or deflationary pressures have abated, the natural real interest rate is a key concept for central banks seeking to stabilize the general price level or targeting the rate of inflation. The present roundup provides a brief historical review of this concept and explains the relevance of the natural real rate for monetary policy analysis. 

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.551037.de
The Inflation Targeting Debate http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.549678.de Inflation targeting has become one of the most prominent monetary regimes around the globe. Proponents argue that it reduces the dynamic inconsistency problem of monetary policy and thereby stabilises prices, which in turn promotes growth. Opponents, on the other hand, say that by focusing on price stability inflation targeting neglects other important policy objectives, such as financial stability, and thereby contributed to the built up of the global financial crisis. This roundup summarises the arguments made in the debate. It concludes that no consensus has emerged in the empirical literature about whether inflation targeting improves macroeconomic performance.

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.549678.de
Arbeitszeitwünsche von Beschäftigten: eine Black Box? http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.549541.de Wie viel Zeit Menschen in ihre Erwerbsarbeit investieren wollen, können und müssen ist nicht nur für den Einzelnen, sondern auch für eine Ökonomie als Ganzes von zentraler Bedeutung. Doch je nach Studie und zugrundeliegendem Datensatz ergibt sich ein heterogenes Bild über Arbeitszeitwünsche und -realitäten in Deutschland. Diesem Phänomen und seinen Ursachen geht der nachfolgende Bericht nach.

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.549541.de
Wie beeinflusst der Besuch einer Kindertageseinrichtung nicht-kognitive Fähigkeiten? http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.549285.de Kindertageseinrichtungen sollen als Ort der frühkindlichen Bildung die Entwicklung und Fähigkeiten von Kindern fördern. Die frühe Bildung ist besonders wichtig, da sich viele Fähigkeiten früh im Lebensverlauf herausbilden. Außerdem erleichtern früh erworbene Fähigkeiten den weiteren Erwerb von Fähigkeiten und beeinflussen somit die gesamte Bildungsbiografie. Die ökonomische Forschung unterscheidet zwischen kognitiven und nicht-kognitiven Fähigkeiten. Kindertageseinrichtungen können beide Aspekte der kindlichen Entwicklung fördern. Dieser Roundup fasst die ökonomische Evidenz zu den Effekten frühkindlicher Bildung und Betreuung in Kindertageseinrichtungen auf nicht-kognitive Fähigkeiten zusammen.

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.549285.de
Tax evasion and the impact of international regulation: a summary of empirical results http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.547771.de While combating tax evasion ranks highly on the international policy agenda and journalists are covering leak after leak, the economics profession at large has somewhat neglected the subject until recently. In the last years, however, a combination of better international financial data and ingenious identification strategies in several pioneering studies has made the subject popular in empirical economics. These contributions are summarized below.             

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.547771.de
Eine Softdrinksteuer zur fiskalischen Konsumsteuerung http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.546250.de 800x600

Am 11. Oktober, dem sogenannten „Welt-Adipositas-Tag“, hat die Weltgesundheitsorganisation (WHO) einen Bericht vorgestellt, in dem sie eine 20%-ige Steuer auf zuckergesüßte Getränke empfiehlt (WHO 2016). Zuletzt hat Großbritannien die Einführung einer solchen Abgabe im Haushalt 2016 beschlossen und erwartet, nebst Einnahmen von 520 Millionen Pfund im ersten Jahr, einen deutlichen Rückgang des Übergewichts (HM Treasury 2016). Ob eine solche fiskalische Konsumsteuerung tatsächlich zu einer gesünderen Ernährung führt, hängt von mehreren Faktoren ab: Wie stark reagiert die Nachfrage nach Softdrinks auf eine Preisänderung? Wie wirkt sich die Steuer auf die Nachfrage nach anderen gesunden oder ungesunden Gütern aus? Wird die Steuerlast stärker von Produzenten oder Konsumenten getragen? Dieser Text fasst den aktuellen Forschungsstand im Hinblick auf diese und weitere Fragen zusammen.

Thu, 03 Nov 2016 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.546250.de
Parental leave policies and child development: A review of empirical findings http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.546153.de Parental leave policies are a major policy tool used across OECD countries to support families before and after child birth. There are large differences across countries in the amount and the duration of benefit payments as well as leave entitlement periods. Despite these differences, the shared goal of parental leave policies is to reconcile family life and work, and support child development. While much research attention has been paid to the effects of parental leave policies on maternal labor supply, much less is known about their effects on child development and health. This DIW Roundup summarizes the international literature on parental leave policies and their impact on child outcomes. The literature suggests that the effects are small. However, research in this area is still relatively new and it is too early to draw conclusions about how the design of parental leave policies impacts on child development.

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.546153.de
Zur Debatte um die Angleichung des Rentenrechts in Ost und West http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.540794.de 800x600

Auch über ein Vierteljahrhundert nach dem Fall der Mauer ist die vollständige Angleichung des Rentenrechts in Ost- und Westdeutschland noch nicht vollzogen. Die gesetzlichen Renten werden weiterhin unterschiedlich berechnet und angepasst, ferner unterscheiden sich Größen wie die Beitragsbemessungsgrenze oder die sogenannte Bezugsgröße in beiden Landesteilen. Da die Übergangsregelungen der Wendezeit nun über einen so langen Zeitraum Bestand haben, gibt es seit einigen Jahren Kritik an der Ungleichbehandlung von Ost- und Westdeutschen. Hätte es seit 1990 eine vollständige Lohnkonvergenz gegeben, wäre der unterschiedliche Berechnungsmodus obsolet geworden. Tatsächlich ist die Lohnkonvergenz seit Ende der 90er Jahre zum Stillstand gekommen, der Lohnrückstand in Ostdeutschland liegt 2015 laut volkswirtschaftlicher Gesamtrechnung bei den Jahreseinkommen bei rund 21%, bei den Stundenlöhnen liegt er noch höher. Deswegen wird inzwischen regelmäßig über eine politische Rechtsangleichung diskutiert. Mittlerweile liegen verschiedene Modelle zur Vereinheitlichung des Rentenrechts vor. Die letzten beiden Koalitionsverträge der Bundesregierung (2009 und 2013) enthielten jeweils die Absicht ein einheitliches Rentensystem einzuführen. Uneinigkeit herrscht insbesondere in der Frage, wer die Kosten der Rentenangleichung tragen sollte. Im Juli 2016 hat das Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales (BMAS) einen neuen Vorstoß unternommen, allerdings hat das Bundesfinanzministerium (BMF) laut Zeitungsberichten bereits ein Veto gegen diese Pläne eingelegt. Dieser Roundup gibt einen Überblick zu den diskutierten Überleitungsmodellen und den damit verbundenen Problematiken der Rentenangleichung. 

Tue, 09 Aug 2016 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.540794.de
CGE-Based Methods to Measure the Impact of Trade Liberalization on Poverty http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.540414.de Normal 0 21 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE

It is heavily discussed whether trade liberalization is good or bad for the poor in a given (developing) country. The answer depends on a wide variety of factors, such as the type of trade barrier removed, the economic and institutional environment in the country, and the characteristics of the poor in that country (Winters 2002; Winters et al. 2004). In addition, the results can also be driven by the specific method used to measure the impact of the trade-policy reform on poverty. For an informed discussion, it is, therefore, important to understand the corresponding empirical methods at hand.

Most generally, empirical studies on trade impacts can be divided into ex-post and ex-ante analyses. Whereas ex-post studies focus on the effects of trade policies that have already been implemented, ex-ante analyses simulate the effects of potential future (and actual) trade policies (Piermartini and Teh 2005). In other words, ex-post studies have both pre- and post-reform data at their disposal, while ex-ante studies rely exclusively on pre-liberalization data. Ex-post analyses have the advantage of being grounded on real-world observations; however, their difficulty lies in applying appropriate statistical methods to separate the impact of a given trade-policy reform from any other shock affecting the economy in the observation period (Hertel and Reimer 2005; Piermartini and Teh 2005). This identification problem is absent in ex-ante studies, conducting counterfactual analyses, as they allow to explicitly and exclusively simulate the trade-policy shock (Hertel and Reimer 2005). However, simulation studies encounter yet other challenges, namely to verify the assumptions concerning the model specification (e.g., parameters and functional forms) and, thus, to ensure the quality of the results (Piermartini and Teh 2005; Winters et al. 2004). Their strength, in turn, is to reveal possible orders of magnitude of a policy impact, to identify relative winners and losers, and to give insights into the quantitative importance of the mechanisms behind the effects of a given trade-policy reform on poverty (Winters 2003; Winters et al. 2004; Bourguignon et al. 1991).

While examples of ex-post methods to analyze the effects of trade liberalization on poverty can be found in Winters et al. (2004), this Roundup gives an overview of some basic ex-ante methods available to quantify and evaluate the impact of a trade-policy reform – or, more generally, a macro-economic shock – on the distribution of household income for poverty (and inequality) analysis, i.e. on the micro-economic level. The methods considered here center all around so-called computable general equilibrium (CGE) models. On the one hand, they include the standard CGE approach with (one or) several representative households; on the other hand, they cover macro-micro simulations, subdivided into the top-down approach, the top-down/bottom-up approach, and the integrated approach. For each method, the Roundup provides a brief description, some applications, and a critical assessment.


Thu, 28 Jul 2016 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.540414.de
What causes the delay in reforms in Europe? http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.537484.de Normal 0 21 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE

The academic literature provides no clear answer to this question. In principle, the recent slowdown in reform activity and fiscal consolidation in the euro area may derive from several developments. Potential reasons involve the end of the economic recession, the provision of financial assistance to crisis countries, and improved financing conditions for governments as a result of unconventional monetary policy, which all reduced reform pressure. While existing studies analyse several of these causes of reform delays in general, there is only very limited evidence for such a relation in the current environment in the euro area.


Tue, 05 Jul 2016 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.537484.de
Nuclear power and the uranium market: are reserves and resources sufficient? http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.535933.de The increase of the use of atomic power in some emerging economies, in particular South Korea and China, has revitalized a discussion regarding the availability of uranium resources. Despite the fact that global uranium resources are more than sufficient to supply reactor-related demand for the rest of the century, some voices in the nuclear community expect a supply shortage for the upcoming decades, and the risk of prices tippling in the next 20 years. They argue with delayed construction times, untimely mining expansion and unfavorable market conditions. This Roundup takes a closer look at the arguments of the debate.

Thu, 09 Jun 2016 02:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.535933.de
Staatsfonds in Zeiten niedriger Rohstoffpreise http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.534160.de Unter Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) oder Staatsfonds werden Fonds verstanden, die im Auftrag eines Staates Geld anlegen und verwalten. Die Fonds speisen sich häufig aus Ressourcen, insbesondere aus Einnahmen von Öl- und Gasexporten. Sie sollen in rohstoffexportierenden Ländern dazu beitragen, mögliche Preisschwankungen auf internationalen Rohstoffmärkten abzufedern oder finanzielle Reserven für künftige Generationen zu bilden. Lange Zeit hatten steigende Energiepreise zu einer rasanten Zunahme des Fondsvolumens auf weltweit insgesamt über sieben Billionen US-Dollar gesorgt und die Länder somit mit einem beachtlichen finanziellen Puffer ausgestattet. Mit dem Rückgang des Ölpreises seit Mitte 2014 wurde diese Dynamik jedoch unterbrochen. Einige der ölexportierenden Staaten müssen in Zeiten sinkender Exporteinnahmen und angespannter Haushalte zur Deckung ihrer Defizite nun sogar auf Mittel ihrer Staatsfonds zurückgreifen. Dieses DIW Roundup beleuchtet Funktionen, Bedeutung sowie die Entwicklung von SWF in Zeiten niedriger Energiepreise.

Tue, 24 May 2016 11:00:00 +0200 http://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.534160.de