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A low growth path in Austria: potential causes, consequences and policy options




This paper reports on an Austrian research project that deals with the question how the Austrian society could cope with long-lasting low economic growth. Various causes of low-growth that are relevant for Austria (a deteriorating balance of trade, increasing resource prices, consumer restraint of households and less immigration) have been identified, leading to an only moderate gross domestic product growth of 0.55 % per year. The resulting impact on the economy is substantial: the labour market suffers from a shortage of labour supply (due to reduced migration) and from a reduced demand for labour (due to reduced demand in consumption, investments and exports). Subsequently, less employment decreases the development of the disposable income of private households (tax rates and social security contributions held constant). Related to this, public debt is higher due to reduced tax incomes and slightly growing public expenditures. From an ecological perspective, resource consumption increases at a slower rate, however, no absolute reduction can be reached. CO 2 emissions also slightly increase. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that low growth necessarily leads to the achievement of energy and environmental policy goals. Based on these results, a policy scenario was used to analyze whether and how policy measures are able to cope with the negative consequences of persistent low growth. The results reveal that the selected measures are suitable to reduce negative economic effects: The implementation of reduced working time and an eco-social reform of levies might improve the labour market situation. The negative effects on the national budget can be diminished by a reduction of environmentally harmful subsidies. Induced behaviour changes of private households can reduce energy and resource-intensive consumption. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea Stocker & Anett Großmann & Friedrich Hinterberger & Marc Wolter, 2014. "A low growth path in Austria: potential causes, consequences and policy options," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 41(3), pages 445-465, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:empiri:v:41:y:2014:i:3:p:445-465
    DOI: 10.1007/s10663-014-9267-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jochen Hartwig, 2005. "Messprobleme bei der Ermittlung des Wachstums der Arbeitsproduktivität - dargestellt anhand eines Vergleichs der Schweiz mit den USA," KOF Working papers 05-100, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    2. Stocker, Andrea & Großmann, Anett & Madlener, Reinhard & Wolter, Marc Ingo, 2011. "Sustainable energy development in Austria until 2020: Insights from applying the integrated model ""," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 6082-6099, October.
    3. Bernd Meyer & Christian Lutz & Peter Schnur & Gerd Zika, 2007. "National Economic Policy Simulations with Global Interdependencies: A Sensitivity Analysis for Germany," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 37-55.
    4. repec:wfo:wstudy:34981 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item


    Economic growth; Macroeconomics; Sustainability; Sustainable economy; Modelling; E27; O44; Q57;

    JEL classification:

    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • O44 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Environment and Growth
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics


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