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Public Sustainable Finance: von nachhaltigen Finanzmärkten zur sozialökologischen Transformation


  • Philipp Golka
  • Steffen Murau
  • Jan-Erik Thie


In this article, we argue for “public sustainable finance,” in which the state has a central role to play for maximum transformational impact. To date, sustainable finance has focused on ESG criteria, divestment, voting, engagement, and impact investing. The goal is to mobilize private capital by “de-risking” private investments through public funds. Government action in the form of direct financing is not considered in the current discussion on sustainable finance. We argue this is due to an implicit reference to mainstream economic theory: according to the New Consensus model, an overly active state leads to time inconsistency problems and crowding out effects. The theoretical assumptions are also reflected in the current institutional framework in the form of the EU’s Maastricht Treaty and the German debt brake. However, these assumptions based on the loanable funds theory have been sufficiently refuted in recent years. Loans arise out of thin air and can provide additional public investments, which in turn lead to increased private investment (crowding in). It is true that a reform of the debt brake is unlikely at present. However, public investments in climate protection and renewable energy can be made possible within the current debt brake regime by means of exceptions. To this end, we propose that the Climate and Transformation Fund (KTF) be given its own borrowing powers. By borrowing 162 billion euros by 2030, the existing financing gap can be closed and important investments in the future can be made. In diesem Artikel plädieren wir für „Public Sustainable Finance“, bei welchem dem Staat für eine maximale Transformationswirkung eine zentrale Rolle zukommt. Bisheriges Sustainable Finance konzentriert sich auf ESG-Kriterien, Divestment, Voting, Engagement und Impact Investing. Ziel ist die Mobilisierung privaten Kapitals, indem ein „De-risking“ privater Investitionen durch öffentliche Mittel ermöglicht wird. Staatliches Handeln in Form von Direktfinanzierung findet in der aktuellen Diskussion keine Beachtung. Dem New Consensus-Modell nach führt ein zu aktiver Staat zu Time Inconsistency-Problemen und Crowding Out-Effekten. Die theoretischen Annahmen finden sich auch im aktuellen institutionellen Gefüge in Form des Maastricht-Vertrags der EU und der deutschen Schuldenbremse wieder. Jedoch wurden diese auf der Loanable Funds-Theorie beruhenden Annahmen in den vergangenen Jahren hinreichend widerlegt. Kredite entstehen aus dem nichts und können zusätzliche öffentliche Investitionsmittel bereitstellen, die wiederum vermehrte private Investitionen nach sich ziehen (Crowding In). Auch im aktuellen Schuldenbremsen-Regime sind über Ausnahmetatbestände zusätzliche öffentliche Investitionen in Klimaschutz und Energiewende möglich. Hierfür schlagen wir vor, den Klima- und Transformationsfond (KTF) mit eigenen Kreditermächtigungen auszustatten. Durch die Aufnahme von Krediten in Höhe von 162 Mrd. Euro bis 2030 können die bestehende Finanzierungslücke geschlossen und wichtige Zukunftsinvestitionen getätigt werden.

Suggested Citation

  • Philipp Golka & Steffen Murau & Jan-Erik Thie, 2023. "Public Sustainable Finance: von nachhaltigen Finanzmärkten zur sozialökologischen Transformation," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 92(1), pages 97-112.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwvjh:92-1-6
    DOI: 10.3790/vjh.92.1.97

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    Sustainable Finance; Fiskalpolitik; Finanzmarkt;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy


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