Press Releases

Current and older Press Releases of DIW Berlin
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29 February 2016

More German workers would like to work from home - but not enough are permitted to do so

One out of every three workers would prefer to work from home, but only one out of every eight actually does – Germany’s proportion of home workers lags behind that of other European countries – home workers are more satisfied with their jobs – reconciling career and family is not the primary motive

In Germany, only twelve percent of all employees work primarily or even partially from home, even though many employees believe they do not need to be in the office in order to do their jobs. Many more employees would like to work from home—even if only every once in a while—but in most cases, their employers forbid them from doing so. If employers were to reconsider their policies, the proportion of home workers could increase to 30 percent. These are the key findings of a recent study conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and published in the DIW Economic Bulletin 8/2016.

17 February 2016

ECB’s Policy Measures Stimulate the Economy - Long-term Effects on Wealth Inequality Unclear

European Central Bank (ECB) supports prices, economic activity, and inflation expectations through unconventional measures both in the euro area as a whole and in Germany - but the measures are likely to raise wealth inequality in the short term

The ECB’s ultra-loose monetary policy aimed at easing the financial and debt crisis is making an impact. Prices and GDP have been shored up and inflation expectations stabilized. However, these unconventional measures—particularly the program to purchase government and corporate bonds which began in early 2015—will temporarily increase wealth inequality in the euro area. It is still uncertain whether this distributionary effect will persist in the long term or whether it will be balanced out. These are the findings of two studies published by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) in issue 7(2016) of DIW Economic Bulletin.

10 February 2016

More and more schoolchildren are using paid tutoring – especially those from middle-income households

Proportion of tutored students nearly twice as high as 15 years ago – household income becoming a less influential factor – parental migration background no longer determines participation – nevertheless, educational inequalities persist

More and more schoolchildren in Germany are using private tutoring: 47 percent of the 17-year-olds who were interviewed between 2009 and 2013 reported enlisting the help of paid tutors at least once over the course of their school careers — a figure that is roughly 20 percentage points higher than it was 15 years ago. In 2013, 13 percent of all schoolchildren reported that they had received private out-of-school lessons within the previous six months: this figure amounted to six percent among primary school and 18 percent among secondary school students.

1 February 2016

Inheritances: Abolish Tax Privileges, Reduce Tax Rates

DIW Berlin experts estimate annual value of inheritances and gifts to be between 200 and 300 billion euros – high levels of inequality due to heavy concentration of wealth and largely tax-free transfers of big businesses – experts recommend reducing tax privileges and imposing limited tax rates for business transfers

In 2009, tax privileges for transfers of businesses were expanded; the Federal Constitutional Court then put a stop to the expansion. Now the grand coalition is discussing an inheritance tax reform that would further limit tax privileges in the transferring of big businesses.

20 January 2016

Women executive barometer 2016: Percentage of women among major companies’ top-level positions hardly increases

Researchers analyzed more than 500 companies – some are setting a good example, while others are lagging behind – vast majority of companies have yet to meet the 30-percent quota for women on supervisory boards

A balanced representation of women and men in Germany’s corporate leadership roles is still a long way off: At the end of 2015, the proportion of women on the executive boards of the 200 largest companies stood at just over six percent—an increase of less than one percentage point over the previous year. And even though nearly 20 percent of the positions on the supervisory board were held by women, the growth dynamic has weakened compared to the previous year. These are the results of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)’s latest “Women Executive Barometer,” published in DIW’s current Economic Bulletin. “The development is moving at a snail’s pace,” explains Elke Holst, Research Director for Gender Studies at DIW Berlin. “If the growth rate of the share of women continues to be as low as it is, it will be a long time before an equal participation of women and men has been achieved.” According to DIW’s calculations, if the growth rate of the past ten years were to continue, it would take the top 200 companies another 25 years before an equal number of men and women were serving on their supervisory boards, and another 86 years before an equal number of men and women were serving on their executive boards. “The executive boards in particular are where the share of women remains at such an extremely low level,” says Anja Kirsch, research fellow at the Chair of Labor Politics at Freie Universität Berlin.

17 December 2015

Domestic demand driving German economy

DIW Berlin’s economic forecast: GDP growth will remain stable over the next two years – domestic economy benefiting from favorable labor market situation and expenditure on asylum seekers – public sector has surpluses, but margins are tightening

The German economy is expected to continue in its upward growth over the next two years: According to the latest economic forecasts from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), the GDP is expected to grow by 1.7 percent in the current year, as well as in 2016. In 2017, growth is expected to be slightly lower, at 1.5 percent—but only because there are fewer working days due to the timing of public holidays.

2 December 2015

German construction industry booming despite decline in energy-efficient refurbishment

DIW Berlin’s construction volume calculations: construction industry remains a key pillar of the German economy—need for action in energy-efficient refurbishment and in accommodating refugees

The construction industry remains a key pillar of the German economy: buildings worth a total of around 338 billion euros will have been constructed or modernized in Germany by the end of this year—2.7 percent more than last year. An even greater increase of 3.9 percent to almost 352 billion euros is expected for next year. These figures are taken from the latest construction volume calculations by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). Residential construction in particular is booming: it is predicted to grow by 2.7 percent in 2015 and 2.2 percent in 2016 in real terms. “Interest rates and labor market conditions are both extremely favorable, and demand for housing is high, particularly in urban conurbations,” says one of the authors of the study, Claus Michelsen, Research Associate in the Department of Forecasting and Economic Policy and the Department of Climate Policy at DIW Berlin.

18 November 2015

European climate protection goals can be reached without nuclear power

Photovoltaics and wind power can replace nuclear power – DIW Berlin’s energy experts maintain that a nuclear power renaissance is neither sensible nor necessary – financing for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants and the search for a final storage should be secured through public funds

Europe’s climate protection goals will not be endangered if existing nuclear power plants are gradually decommissioned and no new ones are constructed. This is the result of case studies and scenario analyses conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), according to which the European emissions reduction targets can be achieved through a significant expansion of renewable energies—and entirely without the use of nuclear power.

“Europe does not need nuclear power,” says Claudia Kemfert, Head of the Department of Energy, Transportation, and Environment at DIW Berlin. “Significantly rising investment costs for new nuclear power plants, increasing operating costs, and unresolved issues regarding decommissioning and final disposal make the technology economically so unattractive that there is not, and will never be, a renaissance of nuclear power.” Above all, says Kemfert, the increasingly favorable electricity production from wind power and photovoltaics could offset the decline in nuclear power.

12 November 2015

Integrating the refugees will have a positive effect on the economy in the long run

DIW economists simulate various scenarios based on different assumptions – in every projected scenario, investment pays off in the longer term – successful integration will increase per capita income of Germany’s current population

The recent influx of refugees has created enormous challenges for politicians and society at large - but according to a simulation conducted by economists at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), a successful refugee integration is a win for everyone.

29 October 2015

Sanctions against Russia having little economic impact in the short term

Russian economy suffering due to weaker local currency – depreciation of the ruble primarily due to the drop in oil prices, not to sanctions

Since 2014, the ruble has fallen by more than 50 percent against the U.S. dollar—and this devaluation is putting the Russian economy under pressure. A study conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) has concluded that the decline in the oil price has primarily been responsible for this devaluation, while the economic sanctions imposed by the Western countries after the annexation of Crimea are playing only a subordinate role.

22 October 2015

Municipal infrastructure in Germany requires significant strengthening

Persistent lack of investment among municipalities – social expenditures diminishing financial leeway – structurally weak regions threatening to fall further behind – DIW experts recommend temporarily making use of solidarity contributions to relieve municipalities of social expenditures

Investment in public infrastructure is critical for ensuring competitiveness and creating growth potential in Germany; nevertheless, the country’s municipal infrastructure, in particular, has been deteriorating for years. A group of experts at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) have thus examined Germany’s municipal investment activities.

“In spite of the government surpluses, a large proportion of the municipalities are investing too little, and the problems they are facing will be exacerbated if the economic policy does not swiftly and definitively counteract these issues. Above all, municipalities with high social spending are investing significantly less,” explains DIW Berlin President Marcel Fratzscher. DIW Berlin’s experts therefore recommend temporarily using the solidarity surcharge to relieve municipalities of providing the social benefits for housing and heating costs. This would create the framework for more municipal investment.

22 October 2015

Municipal energy and water suppliers expand investment

Unlike the investment of core municipal budgets, public companies’ investment in energy and water supply is not decreasing – DIW experts find no connection among regional financial power, shifting demographics, and investment

Countless municipalities in Germany are investing too little, which is primarily having a negative impact on infrastructure. However, for the municipal energy and water utilities—that is, public companies outsourced from municipal budgets—this is not the case. As a recent investigation conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) shows, the investment of public energy and water supply companies is increasing and comparable in trend to that of private energy and water suppliers. For example, the purely public companies’ net investment in network infrastructure increased from 1.4 to nearly 2.3 billion euros between 2005 and 2012. Although the regional financial power and demographic trends in the service areas vary greatly, these factors have so far had little impact on the investment expenditures of the public energy and water supply companies: Municipal providers in financially weak federal states do not invest less than do those in financially strong ones, and municipal providers in shrinking regions invest no less than those in growing ones. “However, this result does not necessarily hold true for other municipal services that have not yet been outsourced,” explain DIW economists Astrid Cullmann, Maria Nieswand, and Caroline Stiel in their study, “because the energy and water supply differs fundamentally from other municipal activities to the extent that it is usually profitable, and thus mostly independent of a municipality’s financial situation.”

8 October 2015

Joint Economic Forecast Autumn 2015: German economy stable but needs effective policies to nurture growth

The German economy is experiencing a moderate upturn. Gross domestic product will increase by 1.8 percent in 2015 and in 2016 respectively. Growth will be driven by private consumption. In view of the world economy’s modest growth, exports are only expected to rise slightly, especially as the stimulating effect of the euro’s depreciation gradually starts to fade. There will be a more rapid expansion in employment, although unemployment is expected to grow slightly in 2016 as the large number of refugees currently arriving in Germany gradually impacts the labour market. Public budgets are expected to post a surplus of 13 billion euros in 2016. This will be significantly lower than the surplus of around 23 billion euros forecast for 2015, mainly due to additional expenditure related to tackling the influx of refugees.

7 October 2015

East-West Gap in Private-Sector Research, Development, and Innovation in Germany is Structurally Related

Very few research-intensive sectors and larger enterprises—research concentrated in public-sector and publicly funded research institutes and universities

Over the past two decades, research and development (R&D) activities in eastern Germany have increased substantially, albeit to a lesser extent than in western Germany. Furthermore, R&D in eastern Germany was primarily conducted by public-sector research institutes and less so by universities and businesses. In 2013, overall, R&D activities in eastern Germany reached 86 percent of the western German level; in the private sector, eastern Germany reached just under 50 percent of the western German level. These are the key findings of a recent study conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). This gap is due to the economic and corporate structure: research-intensive sectors and larger enterprises that conduct more research and development overall than smaller enterprises are less frequently located in eastern Germany. According to DIW expert, Alexander Eickelpasch, “Given the structural differences, an approximation to the western German level is not anticipated in the foreseeable future.” However, too much importance should not be attached to this because, “There is also a great deal of regional dispersion in the R&D activities of the private sector in western Germany.”

1 October 2015

Study on “Women’s Quota”: Long-Term Positive Effects Anticipated

Binding quota could combat gender stereotypes – quality of talent pool expected to improve overall – no discrimination against men anticipated

On January 1, 2016, a fixed 30-percent gender quota for supervisory boards will come into force in Germany. This is binding for all listed companies that also have employee representation on their supervisory boards (full codetermination). In the run-up to the introduction of the quota, critics had alleged that the legislation, dubbed the “women’s quota,” discriminated against men and prevented the best candidates being appointed. Dr. Norma Schmitt, a researcher in the field of gender studies at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), examined concerns like these in a variety of research studies. Her conclusion is that, “Early research results indicate that a higher share of female supervisory board members leads to an increase in the number of women in senior management and generally improves women’s chances of promotion. This can only be achieved, however, if convincing efforts are made to meet the target.” Companies would also benefit from the implementation of a gender quota as studies have shown that a 30-percent share of women results in a critical mass and, when this is reached, we can observe a favorable impact on company performance as a result of gender diversity on supervisory boards.

25 September 2015

Increasing concentration of asylum seekers among certain EU member states

DIW study examines distribution of refugees among the member states according to population and economic power – integration of refugees into the labor market a major challenge

The European Union is currently experiencing its largest influx of asylum seekers, yet the distribution of these refugees across the member states is highly uneven. While the majority of countries take in fewer asylum seekers as would be appropriate given their respective populations and economic strengths, in the first half of the year, Germany took in nearly three times as many refugees in relation to its total population and twice as many in relation to its economic strength as would have been the case assuming a uniform distribution across all EU countries. As well, the integration of recognized refugees into the German labor market has proven difficult.

18 September 2015

Economic output in Germany will increase by 1.8 percent in 2015 and 1.9 percent in 2016

The euro area continues to recover – emerging countries’ economies are faltering – public budget with surplus despite challenges posed by increasing number of refugees 

The German economy remains on track, even as things are getting rockier: The researchers at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) forecast a 1.8 percent increase in GDP for this year and a 1.9 percent increase for next year. In that instance, they are sticking to their forecast from June. However, they emphasize that the risks have not lessened. Quite the contrary: In the euro area, many countries are still struggling with high private and public debts, problems in the banking sector, and a high level of unemployment. Growth in China and other emerging countries is fragile. This applies all the more considering that in the course of the forthcoming U.S. turnaround in interest rates, increased capital could flow out of the emerging markets, which could additionally reduce their economic momentum.

9 September 2015

25 years of German Unity: Political orientations still different in East Germany and West Germany

Discrepancies primarily in party affiliation and voter turnout –attitudes toward the welfare state are converging – support for the Left Party remains marginal in the West

Twenty-five years after reunification, East and West Germans continue to show clear differences in their political preferences. This is the result of an analysis carried out by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). The investigation covers the years 1990 to 2014 and is based on the most recent data from the long-term Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) study, collected by DIW Berlin in partnership with TNS Infratest Sozialforschung; official data from the Federal and State Election Officials; and data from the German General Social Survey (ALLBUS).

"Even though two East Germans—Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck—hold the top political positions in Germany, there only limited signs of unity in citizens’ political attitudes and their participation in the political process," explains Martin Kroh, Deputy Head of the SOEP at DIW Berlin, Professor of Political Science at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and one of the authors of this study.

2 September 2015

No trend reversal: Gasoline and diesel continue to dominate road transport

Alternative drive systems like electric and hybrid models, and alternative fuels like LPG and natural gas, continue to play a minor role – policy should focus on efficiency improvements to reduce CO2 emissions from conventional fuels and increase the environmental friendliness of road transport – preferential tax treatment for diesel should be abolished

Gasoline and diesel will continue to dominate the fuel demand in German road transport; electric, hybrid, and fuel cell cars will continue to play a subordinate role. This is the result of a recent study conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin).

26 August 2015

Investment in research and development fueling economic growth

Germany's R&D intensity above average in international comparison – automotive industry, in particular the motor vehicle industry, accounts for 85 percent of research expenditure – public research growing in importance

A country’s investment in research and development (R&D) is a key driver of its economic growth. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) on behalf of KfW Bankengruppe. The study, for which the researchers employed various econometric methods such as panel models and time series models, analyzes the relationship between R&D and economic growth in Germany and other research-intensive OECD countries over the past few decades. “An increase in research spending is already starting to lead to a significant increase in gross domestic product in the following year,” explains Heike Belitz, who led the study.

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