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Macroeconomic policies, wage developments, and Germany’s stagnation


  • Eckhard Hein

    (Macroeconomic Policy Institute IMK in the Hans Boeckler Foundation)

  • Achim Truger

    (Macroeconomic Policy Institute IMK in 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

Suggested Citation

  • Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2005. "Macroeconomic policies, wage developments, and Germany’s stagnation," Macroeconomics 0508015, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0508015 Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 26

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ronald Schettkat, 2003. "Institutions in the Economic Fitness Landscape: What Impact Do Welfare State Institutions Have on Economic Performance?," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(2), pages 27-33, October.
    2. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2004. "Macroeconomic co-ordination as an economic policy concept - opportunities and obstacles in the EMU," Macroeconomics 0408011, EconWPA.
    3. Robert Solow, 2000. "Unemployment in the United States and in Europe - A Contrast and the Reasons," CESifo Working Paper Series 231, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. 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.
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    7. 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.
    8. 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, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 337-353, March.
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    12. Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1995. "Distinguishing theories of the monetary transmission mechanism," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 83-97.
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    16. 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.
    17. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. David R. Howell, 2010. "Institutions, Aggregate Demand and Cross-Country Employment Performance: Alternative Theoretical Perspectives and the Evidence," Working Papers wp228, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    2. Erik S. Reinert & Rainer Kattel, 2007. "European Eastern Enlargement as Europe's Attempted Economic Suicide?," The Other Canon Foundation and Tallinn University of Technology Working Papers in Technology Governance and Economic Dynamics 14, TUT Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance.

    More about this item


    Wages; macroeeconomic policies; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics


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