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Germany's Benefit from the Greek Crisis


  • Dany, Geraldine
  • Gropp, Reint E.
  • Littke, Helge
  • von Schweinitz, Gregor


This note shows that the German public sector balance benefited significantly from the European/Greek debt crisis, because of lower interest payments on public sector debt. This is due to two effects: One, in crisis times investors disproportionately seek out safe investments (“flight to safety“), bidding down the returns on safe-haven assets. We show that German bunds strongly benefited from this effect during the Greek debt crisis. Second, while the European Central Bank (ECB) monetary policy stance was quite close to an “optimal“ monetary policy stance for Germany from 1999 to 2007, during the crisis monetary policy was too accommodating from a German perspective, due to the emerging disparities across the Euro area. As a result of these two effects, our calculations suggest that the German sovereign saved more than 100 billion Euros in interest expenses between 2010 and mid-2015. That is, Germany benefited from the Greek crisis even in case that Greece defaults on all its debt (a total of 90 billions) owed to the German government via diverse channels (European Stability Mechanism [ESM], International Monetary Fund [IMF], or directly).

Suggested Citation

  • Dany, Geraldine & Gropp, Reint E. & Littke, Helge & von Schweinitz, Gregor, 2015. "Germany's Benefit from the Greek Crisis," IWH Online 7/2015, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iwhonl:72015

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    Cited by:

    1. Athanasios Orphanides, 2020. "The fiscal–monetary policy mix in the euro area: challenges at the zero lower bound," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 35(103), pages 461-517.
    2. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2017. "Central Bank Policies and the Debt Trap," CEPR Discussion Papers 11834, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Boeing-Reicher, Claire A. & Boysen-Hogrefe, Jens, 2017. "Estimating the effects of the "flight to quality", with an application to German bond yields and interest payments," Kiel Working Papers 2086, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    4. Jakob Kapeller & Claudius Graebner & Philipp Heimberger, 2019. "Economic Polarisation in Europe: Causes and Policy Options," ICAE Working Papers 99, Johannes Kepler University, Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy.
    5. Pablo G. Bortz, 2015. "The Greek "Rescue": Where Did the Money Go? An Analysis," Working Papers Series 29, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    6. Ehrhold, Frank & Rahausen, Christian, 2015. "Zinsersparnisse des Bundes im Zeitraum 2009 - 06/2015 und als Szenariobetrachtung bis 2019," Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Diskussionspapiere 02/2015, University of Greifswald, Faculty of Law and Economics.
    7. Baumann, Alexendra & Wohlrabe, Klaus, 2019. "Publikationen von Wirtschaftsforschungsinstituten im deutschsprachigen Raum - Eine bibliometrische Analyse [Publications of Economic Research Insitutes in the German Speaking Area - A bibliometric ," MPRA Paper 92240, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    European Union; Greek crisis; government bonds; German public budget; Greece; Germany;
    All these keywords.

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