The Industrial Conference (Industrietagung) is the traditional institutionalised forum for exchange between the DIW Berlin and the business sector. Since October 1960, the forum has met twice a year - May and November - and is promoted by the Association of the Friends of the DIW Berlin (VdF).
Approximately one hundred representatives of enterprises, business associations, and economic sciences participate regularly. Since the the Federal Government moved to Berlin, the conference has been attracting increasing numbers of participants from politics. The conference understands its role as a platform for dialogs on different viewpoints and opinions.
The Industrial Conference deals with the short term development of the German economy and its industries particularly focusing on energy and construction. The starting point is the macroeconomic analysis and prognosis of the world economy and its regions. On this basis, forecasts for the individual industries are presented both by the DIW Berlin and by experts of the respective industries from enterprises or business associations. For the DIW Berlin, forecasts of output econometric and time series analysis and models are used, where output is a function of important macroeconomic variables like the real exchange rate, interest rate spread or different components of the demand side. The discussion of these model-supported and the empirically founded forecasts of insiders from the different industrial branches proved fruitful. For the large industries, the developments of markets and production locations in Europe and the world are analysed and forecasts are made. Gradually, the conference program will be expanded by analysis and discussion of the development of important service industries.
In addition, apart from the short term economic development, the structural change within and among the industries is a core topic. The assessment of medium-term industry developments structural factors plays an important role. In the future medium-term, for the coming 4-5 years, German industrial branches will be presented once a year in the Industrial Conference. They will primarily serve as the classification of the current situation in the business cycle and will offer guidelines on conceivable developments. Current aspects and problems of the economic development are undertaken by the central topic of the industrial conference. Usually a separate lecture leads into the topic and the experts from various branches discuss it from the view of their industry.