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WIFO Working Papers

Discussion papers by WIFO staff, consultants and guests – As of 2006 available online only – Free download

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Recent issues(545 hits)

Alena Bachleitner, Abolishing the Wealth Tax. A Case Study for Germany

WIFO Working Papers, 2017, (545), 37 pages
Since the 1990ies several countries abolished the wealth tax, but surprisingly few scholars investigated the effects empirically. Motivated by the theoretical literature, this study estimates the effect of the abolition of the net wealth tax in Germany in 1997 on the household saving rate. The use of the Synthetic Control Method allows using variables on aggregate level instead of microeconometric panel data, to estimate the effect of abolishing the net wealth tax. As a result, the analysis shows that the abolition of the net wealth tax had a clear positive effect on the German household saving rate. After three years, the saving rate was found to be about 3 percentage points higher than it would have been without the measure. Robustness checks support the results. These findings suggest that empirically the substitution effect dominated.
Online since: 05.12.2017 0:00

Michael Peneder, Spyros Arvanitis, Christian Rammer, Tobias Stucki, Martin Wörter, Competitiveness and Ecological Impacts of Green Energy Technologies. Firm-level Evidence for the DACH Region

WIFO Working Papers, 2017, (544), 34 pages
For a large sample of enterprises in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (the "DACH" region) we study the impact of policy instruments such as energy-related taxes, subsidies, standards and negotiated agreements, or other regulations on the firm's ecological and economic performance. To identify the causal linkages, we build a system of twelve equations, first tracking the impacts of policy on the adoption of green energy technologies for distinct areas. In a second set of equations, we estimate the perceived impacts of adoption on the firm's energy efficiency, carbon emissions and competitiveness. The results confirm a differentiated pattern of channels through which policy can affect the firm's energy efficiency and carbon emissions, while having a neutral impact on its competitiveness.
Online since: 30.10.2017 0:00

Andreas Reinstaller, Peter Reschenhofer, Using PageRank in the Analysis of Technological Progress Through Patents. An Illustration for Biotechnological Inventions

WIFO Working Papers, 2017, (543), 49 pages
This paper examines whether PageRank algorithms are a valid instrument for the analysis of technical progress in specific technological fields by means of patent citation data. It provides evidence for patent data in biotechnology. Recent literature has been critical with regard to the use of PageRank for the analysis of scientific citation networks. The results reported in this paper indicate, however, that with some minor adaptations and careful interpretation of the results the algorithm can be used to capture some important stylised facts of technical progress and the importance of single patents relatively well especially if compared to indicators based on direct inward citations only.
Online since: 10.10.2017 0:00

Christian Glocker, Philipp Wegmüller, Business Cycle Dating and Forecasting with Real-time Swiss GDP Data

WIFO Working Papers, 2017, (542), 46 pages
We develop a small-scale dynamic factor model for the Swiss economy based on an appropriately selected set of indicators. The resulting business cycle factor is in striking accordance with historical Swiss business cycle fluctuations. Our proposed model demonstrates a remarkable performance in short-term and medium-term forecasting. Using real-time GDP data since 2004, the model successfully anticipates the downturn of 2008-09 and responds in a timely manner to the recent sudden drop following the removal of the Swiss Franc lower bound. In a Markov-switching extension, we propose that our model could be used for Swiss recession dating. Our model does not indicate a regime-switch following the removal of the Swiss Franc lower bound.

Fritz Breuss, The United States-Euro Area Growth Gap Puzzle

WIFO Working Papers, 2017, (541), 39 pages
Ten years ago, the global financial crisis started to unwind in the USA and triggered the greatest recession since World War II. Although the crisis of 2007-08 was caused in the USA, their economy was not hit so hard in the Great Recession of 2009 as in Europe, and in particular in the Euro area. The USA also recovered more rapidly and sustained from the crisis than the Euro area. Additionally, the specific Euro (debt) crisis of 2010 led to a double-dip recession in the Euro area, not joined by the USA. This divergent post-crisis development since then accumulated to a considerable growth gap between the USA and the Euro area. What are the factors behind this different performance? Would a more aggressive fiscal and/or monetary policy in the Euro area have closed the growth gap? As our simulation exercises show: the answer is no. However, the unconventional monetary policy by the ECB since 2014-15 contributed to the most recent recovery in the Euro area. We identify the pivotal reason of Euro areas growth lagging behind the USA in the different experiences in the crises management. The USA has a long-lasting experience in handling financial crises. In historical comparison, the Euro area – the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) of the EU – is still a "teenager". The crises revealed, that the legal basis of the institutional set-up of EMU and hence of the Euro area was not enough crises-proven. Rescue instruments had newly to be implemented. The global financial crisis was the first great shock which was badly absorbed by the still quite heterogeneous Euro countries. The Euro area, shattered by a succession of external (global financial crisis, Great Recession) and internal (Euro crisis) shocks, could therefore not unfold its growth potential in the last decade. If – hypothetically – the Euro area would have profited from the faster-growing production inputs (capital and labour) as in the USA, the growth gap could have been closed.
Online since: 01.09.2017 0:00

Kurt Kratena, Gerhard Streicher, Fiscal Policy Multipliers and Spillovers in a Multi-Regional Macroeconomic Input-Output Model

WIFO Working Papers, 2017, (540), 52 pages
The recent macroeconomic literature dealing with fiscal policy multipliers is dominated by applications of aggregate DSGE (Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium) models, whereas multi-sectoral models (econometric input-output or CGE) are absent. This paper contributes to the debate from a multi-regional, multi-sectoral perspective. The macroeconomic input-output model applied covers 67 countries (plus a statistical rest of world) and incorporates model blocks for private consumption, production, the labour market and the public sector. Household consumption follows the permanent income hypothesis, but with important liquidity constraints. This study calculates macroeconomic and sectoral impacts of fiscal policy in one peripheral EU economy (Spain) as well as their inter-regional spillovers to the rest of Europe. Multipliers are about 1.9 for public consumption and 1.2 for household taxes or transfers in the case of high liquidity constraints (1.6 and 0.9, respectively, for low liquidity constraints). Partially endogenous public spending produces additional domestic effects as well as relatively large spillovers for some highly indebted European countries.
Online since: 22.08.2017 0:00

Rainer Eppel, Thomas Horvath, Helmut Mahringer, Die Auswirkungen temporärer Layoffs auf die weitere Erwerbskarriere der betroffenen Arbeitskräfte

WIFO Working Papers, 2017, (539), 40 pages
Um Schwankungen des Arbeitskräftebedarfs zu begegnen, unterbrechen Betriebe zum Teil in Zeiten geringer Auslastung Dienstverhältnisse, um anschließend bei verbesserter Auftragslage dieselben Arbeitskräfte wieder einzustellen ("temporärer Layoff"). Der vorliegende Beitrag untersucht erstmals die kausalen Auswirkungen dieser personalpolitischen Flexibilisierungsstrategie auf die längerfristige Erwerbskarriere der betroffenen Arbeitskräfte. Der Fokus liegt dabei nicht auf saisonbedingten Beschäftigungsunterbrechungen, sondern auf temporären Layoffs zur Abfederung konjunkturbedingter Schwankungen des Arbeitskräftebedarfs. Gemäß einem kontrafaktischen Vergleich mit permanenten Arbeitsplätzen sind Personen infolge der Aufnahme eines Recall-Arbeitsplatzes mit temporärem Layoff in den folgenden sechs Jahren im Durchschnitt um 80 Tage weniger in Beschäftigung und um 74 Tage mehr in Arbeitslosigkeit. Dafür sind zum Teil unmittelbar die Beschäftigungsunterbrechungen bestimmend. Temporäre Layoffs wirken sich aber auch über den betreffenden Arbeitsplatz hinaus negativ auf die Integration in die Beschäftigung aus. Dies betrifft beide Geschlechter und eine große Zahl von Branchen. Die betroffenen Arbeitskräfte erhalten, wie die Forschungsergebnisse zeigen, keine höheren Löhne, um den Lohnausfall während des Layoff zu kompensieren und einen finanziellen Anreiz für das Warten auf eine Wiedereinstellung zu setzen ("kompensierende Lohndifferentiale").
Endbericht zum Jubiläumsfondsprojekt Nr. 15310 (Projektleitung: Helmut Mahringer) • EDV: Georg Böhs
Online since: 30.06.2017 0:00

Andrea Kunnert, Bildungsstruktur der österreichischen Bevölkerung und Haushalte bis 2040

WIFO Working Papers, 2017, (538), 62 pages
Die Einbeziehung von Humankapital zu Schätzung künftiger demographischer Entwicklungen gewinnt an Bedeutung, da bildungsspezifische Unterschiede in Fertilität, Mortalität und Migration die Entwicklung der Bevölkerung und somit wirtschaftliche Trends (etwa auf dem Wohnungsmarkt) wesentlich beeinflussen. In diesem Beitrag werden bildungsspezifische Unterschiede erstmals auf Ebene der Haushalte für Projektionen für Österreich bis 2040 angewandt. Aufbauend auf einer Multi-State-Bevölkerungsprognose werden mithilfe von Headship-Quoten die Haushaltsprojektionen nach höchster abgeschlossener Ausbildung berechnet. Die vier berücksichtigten Szenarien unterscheiden sich durch Annahmen zur Bildungsentwicklung der Bevölkerung (Basisszenario und Szenario mit Anstieg der höheren Ausbildung) und zu weiteren Entwicklung der Headship-Quoten (konstantes und Trendszenario). Die Zahl der Haushalte wird bis 2040 durch den anhaltenden Rückgang der Haushaltsgröße kontinuierlich wachsen. Der stärkste Anstieg ist in jenem Szenario zu erwarten, bei dem das Bildungsniveau der Bevölkerung steigt und der Trend der Haushaltsformation fortgeschrieben wird: Zwar ist der Bevölkerungszuwachs geringer als im Basisszenario, jedoch wird dies durch den Anstieg des Anteils der Bevölkerung mit Universitätsabschluss und die damit einhergehende Verringerung der Haushaltsgröße in diesem Segment kompensiert. Die Einbeziehung von Humankapital in Haushaltsprojektionen kann somit etwa zur Schätzung der künftigen Entwicklung auf dem Wohnungsmarkt eingesetzt werden.
Online since: 20.06.2017 0:00

Elisabeth Christen, Michael Pfaffermayr, Yvonne Wolfmayr, Decomposing Service Exports Adjustments along the Intensive and Extensive Margin at the Firm-Level

WIFO Working Papers, 2017, (537), 37 pages
Using a panel-data set of Austrian service exporting firms this paper examines the determinants of service exports at the firm-destination country level. We implement a random-effects Heckman sample selection firm-level gravity model as well as a fixed effects Poisson model. Expected firm-level service exports are decomposed into the intensive and extensive margins of adjustment as a response to counterfactual changes. We find market demand to be the key determinant. Results also suggest high service export potentials due to regulatory reform in partner countries within the EU. Adjustments at the extensive margin only play a marginal role. Increasing firm size as well as changes in distance related costs are most effective in developing new export relationships in services.
Online since: 14.06.2017 0:00

Karin Heinschink, Franz Sinabell, Thomas Url, Elements of an Index-based Margin Insurance. An Application to Wheat Production in Austria

WIFO Working Papers, 2017, (536), 16 pages
Farmers may use financial market instruments to hedge price risks. Moreover, various types of insurance products are on the market to protect against production losses. An insurance that covers losses of both input and output prices was recently introduced in the USA. We develop this concept further by proposing a prototype of an index-based margin insurance which accounts for both production risks and price risks (input and output prices). The prototype is based on standardised gross margin time series for specific activities. It accounts for revenues, variable costs by cost item, various insurance coverage levels, and gross margin. Indemnities are paid if the gross margin falls short of a determined level. We identify steps necessary to accomplish a market-ready insurance product (e.g., data validation, defining the details of the sub-indexes and the premium calculation, evaluating acceptance on the market prior to its launch). Using Austrian data, the innovative approach is exemplified with respect to different farm management practices, more specifically for the case of conventional and organic wheat production. Farmers could benefit from such a margin insurance since production and price risks would be covered in one scheme, thus reducing opportunity costs.
Online since: 29.05.2017 0:00