Press Releases

Current and older Press Releases of DIW Berlin
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18 January 2018

DIW Women Executives Barometer 2018: the gender quota for supervisory boards is effective, development on executive boards has almost reached a standstill

DIW Berlin has analyzed the development of the proportion of women in over 500 businesses – There is no indication that the gender quota is affecting executive boards – Banks and insurance companies in particular need to catch up – Politicians and companies must work together

The 30 percent gender quota for supervisory boards is effective: the proportion of women on the supervisory boards of a good 100 companies in Germany which have been subject to the quota since 2016 increased to an average of 30 percent by the end of 2017, almost three percentage points more than the previous year. The German Institute for Economic Research's (DIW Berlin) Women Executives Barometer shows for the first time that numerous companies are increasing the proportion of female members serving on their supervisory board beyond the specified minimum.

17 January 2018

Franco-German proposal for a reform of the European monetary union: building a euro area with more risk-sharing and more discipline

Joint press release of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and ifo Institute – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich

Fourteen economists from France and Germany, including Marcel Fratzscher (DIW Berlin) and Clemens Fuest (ifo), are presenting a reform package aimed at making the euro area more robust and more resilient to crises as well as allow for sound public finances and stronger economic growth.

After nearly a decade of stagnation, the euro area is finally experiencing a robust economic recovery. At the same time, it remains financially vulnerable, economically and politically divided, and seemingly unable to deliver its full growth potential. A reform of the financial, fiscal, and institutional architecture of the monetary union is urgently called for.

16 January 2018

Gross income gap has increased since reunification

The top 10% of income earners in Germany earn almost as much as the middle 40% – the top 1%’s share of national income has increased from eight to 13 percent since 1995.

The share of national income belonging to the top 1% of income earners has grown significantly in Germany since the mid-1990s, while the share earned by the bottom 50% has significantly decreased. These are the main findings of a study by DIW Berlin economist Charlotte Bartels based on income tax data for Germany for the World Inequality Report.

12 January 2018

Construction volume forecast: End of the new housing sector boom

Construction industry continues very positive development – more room for modernization and renovation of existing buildings – construction prices rise sharply

The construction sector cycle will continue its upward course in the next two years according to the forecast of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), which makes its annual prognosis of construction volume on behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment (Bundesbauministerium, BMUB) and the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung, BBSR). However, investment will concentrate more on renovation and modernization, swinging away from new construction. Commercial and public-sector construction activity is expected to continue its moderate pace of increase.

The price of construction services will rise sharply as overall capacity utilization in this sector is close to maximum. Accordingly, cost increases in wages, energy, raw materials, and property should have a major impact. The nominal rate of increase in the construction volume to 392 billion euros in 2018 and 414 billion euros in 2019 will therefore translate into significantly weaker real rates of increase. They should be 1.8 percent in 2018 and 2.4 percent in 2019. With real rates of increase of 3.5 percent this year and a further three percent in 2019, the housing construction sector should further serve as the foundation of Germany’s growth. Public construction will have negative growth (-1.6 percent) this year and with a level of 0.6 percent, recover only slightly in 2019. Commercial construction will grow slightly in 2018 (0.2 percent), but at two percent in 2019 it should make a visible contribution to growth in the sector.

4 January 2018

Gert G. Wagner celebrates his 65th birthday, leaves position on DIW Berlin's executive board

Gert G. Wagner, who served as a member of the German Institute for Economic Research's executive board from 2011 to 2017, will celebrate his 65th birthday on January 5. The economist and social scientist was the head of the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) research infrastructure at DIW Berlin from 1989 to 2011 and developed it into the largest and longest-running long-term study on social and economic conditions in Germany. Wagner is leaving his position as a member of DIW Berlin's executive board in January but will remain at the institute as a Visiting Senior Research Fellow. He will shift the focus of his future research activities to the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung), where he has been a Max Planck Fellow since 2008.

"Gert G. Wagner has been of great service to the SOEP and DIW Berlin," said Axel A. Weber, chairman of DIW Berlin's board of trustees. "Together with an outstanding staff, he made the SOEP into the excellent and world-renowned research infrastructure it is today. As a member of DIW Berlin's executive board, he was just as successful in taking on a large amount of responsibility for the entire institute."

Wagner stepped down from leading the SOEP in early 2011 to join DIW Berlin's executive board. Together with Cornelius Richter and Georg Weizsäcker, Wagner successfully led the institute through its evaluation by the Leibniz Association (Leibniz Gemeinschaft) as the chairman of the executive board ("president"). After Marcel Fratzscher took over the position of president in February 2013, Wagner became a member of DIW Berlin's executive board. Stefan Liebig, who was named director of the SOEP, took over Wagner's position on the executive board effective January 1, 2018.

21 December 2017

DIW Berlin Economic Barometer December 2017: the boom continues despite an end-of-the-year damper

The Economic Barometer of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) dropped by four points in December to 109 points. However, the value above 100 still indicates above-average GDP growth in the fourth quarter by slightly more than half a percent when compared to the third quarter. "Economic growth in the final quarter will be somewhat weaker than before. Nonetheless, the bulging order books indicate that the strong upswing will continue," says Ferdinand Fichtner, DIW Berlin's chief economic forecaster.

20 December 2017

New studies from DIW Berlin emphasize the importance of day care facilities quality for children's development

Children from families who do not speak German as their main language at home often attend childcare facilities with children in similar situations – Policies providing financial incentives for facilities with a minimum percentage of children from migrant backgrounds shouldn’t be encouraged – Separate study shows that quality is strongly influenced by children's social behavior – The effect is strongest for children from socioeconomically disadvantaged families

More and more children in Germany are attending day care centers. In 2016, almost 33 percent of children under the age of three and around 94 percent of all children aged three to six were attending a day care center. The quality of a center and composition of groups there play an important role in children's behavioral and linguistic development. However, a new study from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) shows that children whose home language isn't German often attend a day care center with peers who also do not speak German with their families at home.

12 December 2017

The potential for green public procurement is still largely unexploited in Germany

Public purchases can make a valuable contribution to decarbonizing the economy – Despite an upward trend, only 2.4 percent of public contracts in Germany include green criteria – Policy action is needed in order to fully exploit the potential

Green public procurement, by which public authorities choose their suppliers of goods and services not only based on price but also according to environmentally friendly criteria, is still very much underused in Germany, a study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) shows. Though the practice has been on the rise these past years, its use remains marginal: an analysis of public contract data shows that in 2015, only 2.4 percent of all public contracts awarded in Germany used green criteria.

“The trend is encouraging, but the potential for green public procurement remains largely untapped,” says Olga Chiappinelli, one of the study’s authors. “And yet, buying green is a promising way for public authorities to contribute to the decarbonization of the economy: it allows them to reduce the environmental impact of their purchases; to create favorable market conditions for green technologies, products, and services; and to set a good example.”  

In Germany, government purchases account for 18 percent of total consumption and 11 percent of total investment, and, in some sectors, such as the transport sector, public authorities command an overwhelming share of the market. Public procurement can therefore be exploited to drive the economy towards more sustainability – the more so as the country struggles to meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

6 December 2017

In Germany, approximately 1.8 million workers eligible for the minimum wage are earning less

The introduction of the minimum wage in Germany led to significant increases in wages –– However, around seven percent of eligible workers earn less than minimum wage, with the marginally employed and employees at small businesses being particularly affected –– When one also takes into account workers who are not eligible for a minimum wage, such as freelancers, a total of around 4.4 million people in Germany earned less than 8.50 euros gross per hour in 2016 –– Inspection and sanctions mechanisms need to be improved as do methods for recording work hours

A new study from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and the University of Potsdam shows that while the introduction of a minimum wage has led to a significant increase in low wages, not every worker who has the right to a minimum wage is being compensated accordingly.

6 December 2017

Expansive monetary policy: Early exit from bond purchase program could reduce GDP growth and inflation in the euro area

The following study from DIW Berlin examines the effects of different exit scenarios from the European Central bank’s bond purchase program on the European economy – exiting early would especially depress the inflation rate

What if the ECB were to reduce its bond purchase program by more than what it reported at the end of October? What if it reduced its bond holdings quicker or earlier? DIW Berlin economists Marius Clemens, Stefan Gebauer, and Malte Rieth investigated what implications there would be for economic growth and inflation in the euro area.

The European Central Bank has been buying up government bonds from euro countries against the backdrop of very weak price dynamics. The ECB’s bond holdings have since grown to almost two trillion euros. In January, the ECB will reduce its monthly asset purchases from 60 to 30 billion euros. “Little by little, the ECB will have to not only cut back on asset purchases, but reduce its bond holdings as well,” says Clemens. “It can do this by not replacing money from expiring bonds or even by selling the bonds before maturity.”

1 December 2017

Stefan Liebig, new board member at the German Institute for Economic Research as of 2018

On January 1, 2018, Liebig will become director of the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and a member of the institute’s Executive Board

Stefan Liebig, a professor of sociology at Bielefeld University, will succeed Gert G. Wagner as a member of the German Institute for Economic Research’s Executive Board on January 1, 2018. Having reached retirement age, Wagner (64) is relinquishing his position. Fellow Executive Board members Marcel Fratzscher and Angelica E. Röhr will continue as president and managing director, respectively. At the beginning of 2018, Liebig will also take over as director of the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) research infrastructure at DIW Berlin. Jürgen Schupp, the current director, will remain at SOEP as its deputy director and Gert G. Wagner will join as “Visiting Senior Research Fellow.”

A research fellow at SOEP since 2007, Liebig (54) has used SOEP-generated data in his research for many years. His work focuses on perceptions of social inequality and the analysis of social structures. He is a member of the German Data Forum (Rat für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten, RatSWD) and the Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures (Rat für Informationsinfrastrukturen, RfII). He has been a professor at Bielefeld University since 2008. After receiving his habilitation teaching qualification from LMU Munich in 2004, Liebig taught at Trier University and the University of Duisburg-Essen.

“I am very pleased that we were able to acquire Stefan Liebig as a second scientific member of the Executive Board and that, together with Jürgen Schupp, he will further enhance SOEP, an extraordinarily successful research infrastructure,” said Axel Weber, chairman of the institute’s Board of Trustees. “I would also like to thank Gert G. Wagner for his tireless commitment to SOEP and DIW Berlin.”

President Marcel Fratzscher of DIW Berlin commented, “In Stefan Liebig, we have been able to acquire an outstanding scientist for the DIW Berlin Executive Board and SOEP. I look forward to his arrival and at the same time would like to express my gratitude to Gert G. Wagner for our excellent collaboration over the past years.”

29 November 2017

Higher employment rates and more money in the pension fund

Two DIW studies on the partial retirement scheme and raising the normal retirement age: simulations show positive employment effects and fiscal implications

A normal retirement age that increases relative to the rise in life expectancy after 2030 could help keep the funding of the statutory pension insurance scheme stable without the pension level decreasing further. Depending on the scenario, a partial retirement scheme could also relieve retirement funds and raise employment rates. These are the most important results from two DIW studies on the topic of retirement.

29 November 2017

DIW Economic Barometer November 2017: euphoric expectations signal a strong end to the year

The economic barometer of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) once again reports exceptionally strong growth in the final quarter of 2017: the index level increased to 113 points. GDP should thus continue to outperform at a read of 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter. “Caution should be exercised when interpreting the euphoric sentiment indicators,” warns Ferdinand Fichtner, head of forecasting at DIW Berlin. “After the election, many companies should have expected noticeable economic stimuli – and whether this still applies after the failure of the Jamaica coalition talks remains to be seen.” Indicators reflecting the current situation have subsided; industrial production has also declined recently.

22 November 2017

German companies strengthen research and development – both domestically and abroad

The R&D expenditure of German companies abroad has more than doubled compared to 2003. At the same time, their domestic investments are increasing sharply – The majority of the investments can be attributed to the automotive engineering and pharmaceutical industries – The share of foreign companies in R&D investments in Germany is sinking.

In recent years, German companies have invested more in research and development (R&D) abroad. Between 2003 and 2015, the annual volume of investments abroad more than doubled from 10.9 to 24 billion euros. Thus, the foreign share of German companies’ total R&D investments amounted to 35 percent. However, domestic expenditure for research and development rose by 76 percent to almost 45 billion euros. In total, locations in Germany accounted for 60 percent of the additional R&D investments, while locations abroad accounted for the other 40 percent.

These are the results of a study conducted by DIW Berlin that analyzed annual investments in research and development of German companies with international activities using official data. “The development of R&D expenditure in Germany and abroad is largely parallel in the two sectors,” says study author Heike Belitz. An increase or decrease in R&D in Germany often goes hand in hand with a similar change abroad. “The correlation is clearly evident, although it does not mean there is a causality,” says Belitz.

16 November 2017

Federal state comparison of renewable energy sources: Baden-Württemberg is the new leader, beating out Mecklenburg Western Pomerania and Bavaria for the top spot

Baden-Württemberg, Mecklenburg Western Pomerania, and Bavaria are the leading federal states in the field of renewable energy. That is the result from a comparison of the federal states which was compiled by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden Württemberg, ZSW) on behalf of and in cooperation with the Renewable Energies Agency (Agentur für Erneuerbare Energien, AEE) for the fifth time. Using 59 indicators, the analysis assesses the federal states’ political efforts and achievements in using renewable energy sources as well as the related economic and technological changes in detail. Hesse, Berlin, and the Saarland were ranked the lowest.

8 November 2017

Why are fewer women working in STEM fields? Girls underestimate their math abilities in school

Boys consider themselves to be more gifted in mathematics than their grades indicate, whereas girls think their language skills are stronger. Differences in students’ self-evaluation of their skills are evident by the fifth grade and remain present throughout higher grades

Boys think higher of their math abilities in school than girls do – to an extent that is not justified by their actual grades. Research by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) shows that by the fifth grade, male and female students’ respective self-assessments of their math skills deviate from each other significantly. This difference remains present to a large extent up to and throughout the twelfth grade. These findings are the results of a study by Felix Weinhardt, a research associate in the Department of Education and Family at DIW Berlin, who evaluated data from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), which is representative for German students.

8 November 2017

Abolishing the final withholding tax leads to tax revenue losses and barely burdens high-income groups

Small revenue and distribution effects – Overall, slight tax revenue losses due to a period of low interest rates – Raising the final withholding tax rate to over 25 percent would result in moderate additional revenue

Abolishing the final flat-rate 25 percent withholding tax on unearned income makes sense neither from a fiscal nor a distribution point of view as long as interest rates are so low. If capital income were to be reintegrated into the income tax rate, slight tax revenue losses of 73 million euros would be expected, when taxing 60 percent of dividends and capital gains (partial-income rule) and fully deducting income-related expenses. This is the conclusion of a recent study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). “Abolishing the withholding tax doesn’t do much in terms of fairness if you understand ‘fair’ to mean higher taxes on high capital income,” says DIW tax expert Stefan Bach. High-income groups would barely be burdened by the abolishment of the withholding tax while medium and low-income groups would experience marginal reductions in dividends. In addition, the amount of administrative burdens in the taxation procedure would increase. By contrast, increasing the withholding tax would lead to moderate additional tax revenues and have a progressive impact, but could worsen investment conditions in Germany.

2 November 2017

Youth in Europe have major labor market problems despite lower unemployment

The youth unemployment is still much higher than the unemployment of those aged 25 years and older – Decrease in unemployment primarily due to a drop in the number of young people and the greater number remaining in education – Political measures against youth unemployment prove ineffective

Although the youth unemployment rate in the EU has plummeted in recent years, it is still difficult for teens and young adults to find employment. For example, the unemployment rate in the 15-24 age group is still 2.5 times as high as that of person aged 25 years or more. The decrease in unemployment is primarily caused by the demographic shift and a lower participation in the labor market due to changed education behavior. Political measures for countering youth unemployment, such as the EU Youth Guarantee, do not have recognizable effects. These are the main findings of a current study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). Newly created employment opportunities for young people are almost exclusively fixed-term jobs. The share of part-time jobs has also increased. Due to their more practical training, young people in Central Europe have fewer problems finding employment than persons 25 years and over, unlike the situation in other parts of Europe – particularly in the south.

1 November 2017

DIW Economic Barometer October 2017: the German economy’s golden autumn

The German economy’s strong upswing continues. At 112 points, the Economic Barometer published by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) continues to signal GDP growth that is well above average: 0.7 percent in the third quarter and 0.9 percent in the fourth. “The German economy is heading toward 2018 at full speed,” said Ferdinand Fichtner, head of forecasting at DIW.

28 September 2017

Joint Economic Forecast Autumn 2017: Upturn Remains Robust - Amid Mounting Tensions

Press release of the project group "Gemeinschaftsdiagnose": German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), ifo Institute, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), RWI - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research

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