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Germany's Growth Potential, Structural Reforms and Global Imbalances


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  • Isabell Koske
  • Andreas Wörgötter


The potential growth rate of the economy has been low for a long time and the crisis has had a further adverse impact. The meagre growth performance mainly reflects low growth in a number of services sectors; most manufacturing sectors, by contrast, expanded at a rapid pace in the years preceding the recent crisis, on the back of robust foreign demand. The challenge is to consolidate the past success of the export sector and to broaden it to the whole economy by making the policy framework more conducive to innovation and structural change. Specifically, product market regulation needs to be eased to prevent it from sheltering uncompetitive industries; the framework conditions for innovation need to be improved; the education system needs to be reformed further to supply a sufficiently large pool of highly qualified labour; and immigration policy needs to become more favourable to the immigration of high-skilled. Strengthening Germany’s attractiveness as a location for investment would contribute to a higher trend growth rate through lifting barriers to higher growth, which are particular binding in the non-traded goods sector. This would reduce Germany’s current account surplus and make a contribution to reduce global imbalances. This paper relates to the 2010 OECD Economic Survey of Germany ( La croissance potentielle de l'Allemagne, des reformes structurelles et les déséquilibres mondiaux Le taux de croissance potentiel, faible depuis longtemps, a encore fléchi sous l’effet de la crise. Cette faiblesse tient surtout au manque de dynamisme d’un certain nombre de secteurs de services ; la plupart des branches manufacturières, en revanche, ont connu une expansion rapide au cours des années qui ont précédé la crise, grâce à une demande extérieure soutenue. Il s’agit aujourd’hui de consolider les résultats enregistrés jusqu’ici par les secteurs exportateurs et de faire en sorte que l’économie tout entière suive la même voie, en rendant les politiques publiques plus propices à l’innovation et au changement structurel. En particulier, il faut assouplir la réglementation des marchés des produits afin d’éviter qu’elle ne protège les activités non compétitives, améliorer les conditions cadres de l’innovation, réformer le système éducatif de manière à former un nombre suffisant de travailleurs très qualifiés, et faire en sorte que la politique d’immigration facilite davantage l’entrée de travailleurs hautement qualifiés. Renforcer l'attractivité de l'Allemagne en tant que lieu d’investissement contribuerait à augmenter son taux de croissance potentiel en éliminant les obstacles à la croissance, qui sont particulièrement contraignants dans les secteurs de biens non échangeables. Ceci pourrait réduire l’excédent du compte courant de l'Allemagne et contribuer à réduire les déséquilibres mondiaux. Ce document se rapporte à l’Étude économique de l’Allemagne de l’OCDE, 2010, (

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 780.

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Date of creation: 08 Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:780-en

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Keywords: education; product market regulation; migration; Germany; innovation; potential growth; structural reforms; global imbalances; déséquilibres mondiaux; migration; croissance potentielle; innovation; éducation; réforme structurelle; Allemagne; réglementation des marchés de produits;

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Cited by:
  1. Pietro Catte & Pietro Cova & Patrizio Pagano & Ignazio Visco, 2011. "Macroeconomic Policies and the Roots of the Global Crisis," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
  2. Coricelli, Fabrizio & Ravasan, Farshad R & Wörgötter, Andreas, 2013. "The origins of the German current account surplus: Unbalanced productivity growth and structural change," CEPR Discussion Papers 9527, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Fabrizio Coricelli & Andreas Wörgötter, 2012. "Structural Change and the Current Account: The Case of Germany," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 940, OECD Publishing.
  4. Pietro Catte & Pietro Cova & Patrizio Pagano & Ignazio Visco, 2010. "The role of macroeconomic policies in the global crisis," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 69, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.


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