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Germany's Poor Economic Performance in the Last Decade: It's the Macroeconomy, not Institutional Sclerosis

  • Truger, Achim
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    This paper challenges the institutional sclerosis explanation 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 explanation 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 procyclical monetary, fiscal and wage policy in Germany that is broadly consistent with mainstream macroeconomics and is well backed by empirical data.

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    Paper provided by Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Stiftung in its series WSI Discussion Papers with number 118.

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    Date of creation: 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wsidps:118
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    1. Eckhard Hein, 2005. "Die NAIRU – eine post-keynesianische Interpretation," Macroeconomics 0501009, EconWPA.
    2. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Working Papers 95-15, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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    4. 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.
    5. Nickell, S. & Layard, R., 1997. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," Papers 23, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Belot, M.V.K. & van Ours, J.C., 2001. "Unemployment and labor market institutions : An empirical analysis," Other publications TiSEM 29a3de46-e7bc-4b3d-abe5-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    9. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Truger, Achim & Hein, Eckhard, 2003. "Schlusslicht Deutschland': Resultat institutioneller Verkrustungen?," Wirtschaftsdienst – Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik (1998 - 2007), ZBW – German National Library of Economics / Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 83(8), pages 509-516.
    11. A. B. Atkinson, 1999. "The Economic Consequences of Rolling Back the Welfare State," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011719, June.
    12. Robert Solow, 2000. "Unemployment in the United States and in Europe - A Contrast and the Reasons," CESifo Working Paper Series 231, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Belot, Michele & van Ours, Jan C., 2001. "Unemployment and Labor Market Institutions: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 403-418, December.
    14. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, March.
    15. Robert Solow, 2000. "Unemployment in the United States and in Europe : a contrast and the reasons ; the European unemployment problem," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(1), pages 3-5, October.
    16. Stefan Bach & Dieter Vesper, 2000. "Finanzpolitik und Wiedervereinigung: Bilanz nach 10 Jahren," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 69(2), pages 194-224.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
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