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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 (576 hits)

WIFO Working Papers, 2019, (576), 54 pages
Online since: 24.01.2019 0:00
We introduce a novel measure of uncertainty that is based on a business survey in which firms are asked directly how certain or uncertain they are. So far the literature has tried to capture economic uncertainty indirectly by means of expectation errors or the extent of disagreement. Our direct measure of economic uncertainty has a decent contemporaneous correlation with various indirect measures, its informational content is though different. Across all uncertainty measures, shocks to uncertainty trigger effects in GDP of opposite sign, however, the indirect measures tend to significantly underestimate the effects on GDP and other macroeconomic aggregates.
WIFO Working Papers, 2019, (575), 28 pages
Online since: 11.01.2019 0:00
Two major international frameworks provide landmarks for future development paths: the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. Monitoring the progress towards achieving the individual goals has to consider a multitude of synergies and trade-offs. In this paper we use composite indices to analyse climate and energy policy in Austria and other selected EU countries. The analysis delivers several results which are also supported by the assessment of climate and energy policies in the case study countries. In general, the improvements regarding energy efficiency, emissions and deployment of renewables have been moderate in the period under observation. This hints at the time needed for restructuring to take place. This underlines the importance of credible political commitment to climate targets, the implementation of ambitious instruments and the need for stability in the guiding frameworks in order to effectuate substantial changes. In addition, the description of the circumstances and policy frameworks in the selected countries shows, that each one is characterised by a very specific energy system (complemented by specific social structures) which determines the challenges that have to be overcome on the way to decarbonisation.
WIFO Working Papers, 2018, (574), 34 pages
Online since: 20.12.2018 0:00
We show that firms' credit market experience determines their perception of aggregate bank lending policy using panel data from the Austrian Business Survey between 2011 and 2016. Loan rejections have a strongly negative and persistent effect on perceptions. Interestingly, firms that receive a loan at worse than anticipated conditions show a similarly negative effect. Firms that do not need a loan tend to perceive lending policy as neutral and revise their perceptions less often. Our findings are in line with theories on sticky information, rational inattention and pessimism bias and suggest considering experience for the aggregation of perceptions.
WIFO Working Papers, 2018, (573), 30 pages
Online since: 13.12.2018 0:00
Both the UN SDGs and the Paris Agreement imply ambitious long-term targets which only can be met with a fundamental restructuring of economic and social systems. We propose a set of energy and climate policy indicators that allows informed policy making and goes beyond the approaches that mainly focus on progress based on the UN indicator set. The sustainable energy indicators cover the whole energy system as well as the three dimensions of sustainability. The approach combines an energy service centred perspective with research on energy and climate indicators and embeds the indicator framework in broader socio-ecologic context. For the four demand-side sectors a set of 118 high-level energy indicators has been assembled that can be further disaggregated to about 387 indicators. For electricity and heat supply a set of 25 energy indicators has been compiled that can be further disaggregated to about 130 indicators differentiating by energy source and plant type. Interactions (i.e., synergies and conflicts) between the different target dimensions and the corresponding indicators need to be carefully considered. Given the complexity of the issue and the lack of adequate indicators and gaps in data availability it is difficult to interpret certain observable trends. This needs to be kept in mind when using the indicator system for policy analysis.
WIFO Working Papers, 2018, (572), 33 pages
Online since: 15.11.2018 0:00
The EU Single Market and the Maastricht Treaty are now aged 25. In this short history many events marked the way: the creation of EMU in 1999, the introduction of the euro in 2002, and the great EU enlargement starting in 2004. And lastly – for the first time – with the Brexit a reverse of the process of European integration takes place. The recession of 2009 and the Euro crisis in 2010 led to a setback in the economic development in the EU. A quarter of a century invites to look back about the achievements. How much trade and economic growth could be created by the Single Market plus euro plus EU enlargement? These questions are treated here with the help of a consistent integration model. Embedded into an endogenous growth model approach growth and trade effects for EU and EFTA countries are estimated. It turns out that (taking also into account GATT liberalisation) the European integration added to per-capita GDP 0.5 percentage point to EU 28 countries but only 0.2 percentage point to EFTA countries. Trade openness increased by 0.9 percentage point of GDP in EU 28 and by 0.3 percentage point in EFTA countries.
WIFO Working Papers, 2018, (571), 30 pages
Online since: 02.11.2018 0:00
This essay reconsiders the interaction between the development of economic theories and economic reality since the 1920ies. I begin with the systemic cause of the financial crisis, the coincidence of three "bear markets" (stocks, real estate, commodities) which followed three parallel "bull markets". I then sketch the macroeconomic effects of the "manic-depressive" fluctuations of asset prices and show how they paved the road into the present crisis. As next step, I explain how "bulls" and "bears" are brought about. Then I sketch how the treatment of financial markets in economic theory and policy has shaped the long cycle from the financial boom of the 1920ies, the Great Depression, the post-war prosperity under "realcapitalistic" framework conditions to the "finance-capitalistic" regime since the 1970ies. The paper concludes with proposals how Europe could find roads to new prosperity. After the upcoming financial crisis there will be a window of opportunity to implement these proposals.
WIFO Working Papers, 2018, (570), 55 pages
Online since: 23.10.2018 0:00
Aus ökonomischer Sicht werden hier 100 Jahre Österreich beleuchtet und Schlussfolgerungen für die Zukunft gezogen. Die Republik Österreich besteht nicht durchgehend seit 100 Jahren; sie ging zwischen 1938 und 1945 unter. Im Gegensatz zur Sicht eines Historikers, der chronologisch und sehr detailliert die Ereignisse von 100 Jahren Österreich in der Ersten und Zweiten Republik beschreibt, möchte ich als Ökonom nur gewisse Muster herausarbeiten. Zum einen werde ich die Charakteristika der Wirtschaftsentwicklung nach den beiden Weltkriegen (Inflation, Arbeitslosigkeit, Staatshaushalt, Geldpolitik und die Auswirkungen auf das Wirtschaftswachstum) aufzeigen. Zum anderen werden die Auswirkungen der verschiedenen Regimewechsel auf die wirtschaftliche Souveränität und damit auf die Wirtschaftsentwicklung des Staates Österreich behandelt. In der Ersten Republik und am Beginn der Zweiten Republik gab es eher eine zwangsweise Abgabe an Souveränität (Völkerbunddiktat, Anschluss, Besatzung). Dann folgte mit dem Staatsvertrag und der Neutralität die volle Souveränität. Später kam es im Zuge der stufenweisen Teilnahme an der europäischen Integration (EFTA, EWR, EU, WWU) zu einer freiwilligen Abgabe an Souveränität in der Hoffnung, als Gegenleistung einen barrierefreien Zugang zu einem größeren Markt zu erhalten. Zum Abschluss werden die Vorzüge der EU-Mitgliedschaft beleuchtet und abschließend die Frage diskutiert, ob Österreich besser mit oder ohne EU in die Zukunft schreiten sollte.
WIFO Working Papers, 2018, (569), 34 pages
Online since: 01.10.2018 0:00
We use individual level data covering 30 mostly post-communist and developing countries which account for over a fifth of the worldwide immigrant stock to assess the impact of risk aversion on the willingness to migrate. Consistent with theories of individual level migration decisions, risk aversion has a statistically significant negative impact on both the willingness to migrate within countries as well as abroad. This applies to virtually all countries considered and is robust across various specifications, to alternative measures of risk aversion and to different measures of the willingness to migrate. Differences in the impact of risk aversion on the willingness to migrate are also positively correlated to measures of sending country risks and the missing variable bias of omitting risk aversion from migration regressions is substantial.
WIFO Working Papers, 2018, (568), 29 pages
Online since: 19.07.2018 0:00
The accession of twelve Eastern European countries to the European Union between 2004 and 2007 provided their citizens with the right of free movement of labour within the EU. This led to an increase of (foreign) labour supply in some incumbent countries, among them Austria, which was particularly affected due to its geographical position and a high wage gap. I quantify the effects of labour supply shocks by means of a structural VAR with sign restrictions, distinguish domestic-worker from foreign-worker shocks and find that the latter contributed considerably to the counter-clockwise outward movement of the Beveridge curve in Austria. On impact, the arrival of additional job seekers facilitates matching, but it lowers the chance for existing job seekers to be matched. In the medium run rising labour demand offsets these effects to some extent; the initial substitution of domestic workers is fully compensated. On a regional level, only the east of the country was exposed to the labour immigration boom. The west experienced an overall decrease of unemployment, because it was only affected by the induced economy-wide rise of labour demand. Moreover, I find that, contrary to standard assumptions, labour supply shocks are predominantly inflationary, especially when immigration expands the total population.
This study investigates whether there is a link between the successful implementation of European cohesion policy and the voters' attitudes towards the EU. Using the French presidential elections in 2017 as a case study, we do not solely consider regional funds expenditures but also its induced effects in a region as further potential determinant of pro-European or eurosceptic voting behaviour. In order to measure the effectiveness of EU structural funds and Cohesion Fund assignment, firm-level employment effects in French NUTS-2 regions stemming from project allocation during the multi-financial framework 2007-2013 are estimated. The obtained average treatment effects are, in a next step, used together with other regional characteristics to capture the citizens' perceived exposure to the EU in an empirical voting model for the French presidential election in 2017. The estimation results reveal a significant negative relationship between the effectiveness of EU funds allocation and the vote share of the eurosceptic candidate Marine Le Pen.