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What ever happened to Germany? Is the decline of the former European key currency country caused by structural sclerosis or by macroeconomic mismanagement?

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  • Eckhard Hein

    (WSI in der Hans Böckler Stiftung)

  • Achim Truger

    (WSI in der Hans Böckler Stiftung)

Abstract

This paper challenges the institutional sclerosis view of the German crisis according to which rigid labour markets and generous welfare state institutions have driven Germany into its position as „Europe’s sick man“. In general, the view is not convincing, because the underlying hypotheses about the effects of labour market regulation and welfare state institutions on employment and growth cannot unambiguously be derived from modern labour market theory and are at least partially at odds with accepted empirical findings. In particular, the explanation is unconvincing, because in international comparison Germany’s labour market and welfare state institutions are simply not as sclerotic as often supposed. In most of the aggregate indicators for structural rigidities Germany is not worse than the average OECD or EU country. Moreover, there is a macroeconomic explanation focusing on the combined effects of restrictive and pro-cyclical monetary, fiscal and wage policies in Germany that is broadly consistent with modern macroeconomic theory and is supported by empirical data.

Suggested Citation

  • 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?," Macroeconomics 0501007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0501007
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    Cited by:

    1. Truger, Achim & Hein, Eckhard, 2004. "Macroeconomic co-ordination as an economic policy concept : opportunities and obstacles in the EMU," WSI Working Papers 125, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans Böckler Foundation.
    2. Eckhard Hein & Daniel Detzer, 2015. "Finance-Dominated Capitalism and Income Distribution: A Kaleckian Perspective on the Case of Germany," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 1(2), pages 171-191, July.
    3. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2007. "Monetary Policy, Macroeconomic Policy Mix and Economic Performance in the Euro Area," Chapters, in: Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger (ed.), Money, Distribution and Economic Policy, chapter 11, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Achim Truger & Henner Will, 2013. "The German “debt brake”: a shining example for European fiscal policy?," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(1), pages 153-188.
    5. Eckhard Hein & Thorsten Schulten & Achim Truger, 2004. "Wage trends and deflation risks in Germany and Europe," Macroeconomics 0412008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Engelbert Stockhammer & Eckhard Hein & Lucas Grafl, 2011. "Globalization and the effects of changes in functional income distribution on aggregate demand in Germany," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(1), pages 1-23.
    7. Jorg Bibow, 2005. "Bad for Euroland, Worse for Germany: The ECB's Record," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_429, Levy Economics Institute.
    8. Detzer, Daniel & Hein, Eckhard, 2014. "Finance-dominated capitalism in Germany: Deep recession and quick recovery," IPE Working Papers 39/2014, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
    9. Till van Treeck, 2008. "The political economy debate on ‘financialisation’ – a macroeconomic perspective," IMK Working Paper 01-2008, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    10. Lila J. Truett & Dale B. Truett, 2011. "Whither Germany and the EMU In a Challenging Environment?," Working Papers 0019, College of Business, University of Texas at San Antonio.
    11. Eckhard Hein & Lena Vogel, 2007. "Distribution and growth reconsidered - empirical results for Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA," IMK Working Paper 03-2007, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    12. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2006. "Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Performance in the Euro area - Lessons for the Future," IMK Working Paper 07-2006, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    13. Ines Perez-Soba Aguilar & Elena Marquez de la Cruz & Ana Rosa Martinez-Canete & Alfonso Palacio-Vera, 2006. "Capital Stock and Unemployment: Searching for the Missing Link," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_475, Levy Economics Institute.
    14. Detzer, Daniel & Hein, Eckhard, 2014. "Financialisation and the financial and economic crises: The case of Germany," IPE Working Papers 44/2014, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
    15. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2006. "Germany's post-2000 stagnation in the European context - a lesson in macroeconomic mismanagement," IMK Working Paper 03-2006, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    16. Sarah Godar & Christoph Paetz & Achim Truger, 2015. "The scope for progressive tax reform in the OECD countries. A macroeconomic perspective with a case study for Germany," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(5), pages 79-117.
    17. TINA M. Lila J. Truett & TINA M. Dale B. Truett, 2013. "The German Motor Vehicle Industry: Costs and Crisis During the late 1980s and 1990s, Japanese expertise with their flexible and efficient motor vehicle manufacturing system posed a substantial challen," Working Papers 0001, College of Business, University of Texas at San Antonio.
    18. Eckhard Hein & Petra Dünhaupt & Ayoze Alfageme & Marta Kulesza, 2017. "Financialisation and distribution in three main Eurozone countries from a Kaleckian perspective: France, Germany and Spain compared – before and after the crisis," Working Papers 8/17, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
    19. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2012. "Finance-dominated capitalism in crisis—the case for a global Keynesian New Deal," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(2), pages 187-213.
    20. Hein, Eckhard & Dünhaupt, Petra & Alfageme, Ayoze & Kulesza, Marta, 2017. "Financialisation and distribution in the US, the UK, Spain, Germany, Sweden and France: Before and after the crisis," IPE Working Papers 85/2017, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
    21. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2005. "Macroeconomic policies, wage developments, and Germany’s stagnation," Macroeconomics 0508015, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Hein, Eckhard & Schulten, Thorsten, 2004. "Unemployment, Wages and Collective Bargaining in the European Union," WSI Working Papers 128, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans Böckler Foundation.
    23. Achim Truger, 2013. "Steuerpolitik im Dienste der Umverteilung: eine makroökonomische Ergänzung," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 82(1), pages 43-59.

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    Keywords

    Labour market institutions; macroeconomic policy; employment; Germany; Europian Monetary Union;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics

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