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Macroeconomic policies, wage developments, and Germany's stagnation

  • Eckhard Hein


    (IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation)

  • Achim Truger


    (IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation)

The paper fundamentally challenges the institutional sclerosis explanation of the present German economic stagnation. Instead we present a macroeconomic explanation focusing on the combined effects of too restrictive monetary policies, too restrictive and sometimes pro-cyclical fiscal policies and overly moderate wage policies in Germany since the mid 1990s. This view is broadly consistent with modern macroeconomics and with empirical data. From this perspective we finally argue that Germany urgently needs more expansive fiscal and monetary policies in the short run, and that in the medium run the conditions for nominal wage growth in Germany according to the sum of long run national productivity growth and the ECB's inflation target have to be improved. Further pursuing a policy of structural reforms with respect to the labour market and the social benefit system in combination with a restrictive macroeconomic policy mix, however, will prolong Germany's economic stagnation and will considerably increase the risk of deflation.

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Paper provided by IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute in its series IMK Working Paper with number 01-2005.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imk:wpaper:01-2005
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  1. Nickell, Stephen & Layard, Richard, 1999. "Labor market institutions and economic performance," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 3029-3084 Elsevier.
  2. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2005. "What ever happened to Germany? Is the decline of the former european key currency country caused by structural sclerosis or by macroeconomic mismanagement?," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 3-28.
  3. Hein, Eckhard & Truger, Achim, 2005. "European Monetary Union: nominal convergence, real divergence and slow growth?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 7-33, March.
  4. Dean Baker & Andrew Glyn & David Howell & John Schmitt, 2002. "Labor Market Institutions and Unemployment: A Critical Assessment of the Cross-Country Evidence," SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. 2002-17, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School.
  5. Thomas I. Palley, 1998. "Restoring Prosperity: Why the U.S. Model Is Not the Answer for the United States or Europe," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 20(3), pages 337-353, April.
  6. Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1995. "Distinguishing theories of the monetary transmission mechanism," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 83-97.
  7. Ronald Schettkat, 2003. "Are institutional rigidities at the root of European unemployment?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(6), pages 771-787, November.
  8. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  9. Horst Siebert, 1997. "Labor Market Rigidities: At the Root of Unemployment in Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 37-54, Summer.
  10. Bhaduri, Amit & Marglin, Stephen, 1990. "Unemployment and the Real Wage: The Economic Basis for Contesting Political Ideologies," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(4), pages 375-93, December.
  11. Robert Solow, 2000. "Unemployment in the United States and in Europe - A Contrast and the Reasons," CESifo Working Paper Series 231, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Schettkat, Ronald, 2002. "Institutions in the economic fitness landscape: What impact do welfare state institutions have on economic performance?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment FS I 02-210, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  13. Laurence Ball, 1999. "Aggregate demand and Long-Run Unemployment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 30(2), pages 189-252.
  14. Allsopp, Christopher & Vines, David, 1998. "The Assessment: Macroeconomic Policy after EMU," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 1-23, Autumn.
  15. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," NBER Working Papers 5146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Arestis, Philip, 1996. "Post-Keynesian Economics: Towards Coherence," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 111-35, January.
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