WIFO Working Papers

Discussion papers by WIFO staff, consultants and guests – As of 2006 available online only – Free download

WIFO Working Papers are not peer reviewed and are not necessarily based on a coordinated position of WIFO. The authors were informed about the Guidelines for Good Scientific Practice of the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity (ÖAWI), in particular with regard to the documentation of all elements necessary for the replicability of the results.

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This paper introduces the microWELT model. Starting from its objectives, we discuss design choices, the model architecture and key features. microWELT provides a demographic projection tool reproducing Eurostat population projections but adding details such as education, intergenerational transmission of education, fertility by education, partnership patterns, and mortality differentials by education. The model integrates transfer flows as captured by the National Transfer Account (NTA) and National Time Transfer Account (NTTA) accounting framework and calculates a set of indicators based on NTA literature. Individual accounts allow the study of transfers over the whole life cycle by cohorts and between generations.
WIFO Working Papers, 2020, (608), 36 pages
Online since: 11.09.2020 0:00
We propose a novel identification strategy to measure monetary policy in a structural VAR. It is based exclusively on known past policy shocks, which are uncovered from high-frequency data, and does not rely on any theoretical a-priori restrictions. Our empirical analysis for the euro area reveals that interest rate decisions of the ECB surprised financial markets at least fifteen times since 1999. This information is used to restrict the sign and magnitude of the structural residuals of the policy rule equation at these shock dates accordingly. In spite of its utmost agnostic nature, this approach achieves strong identification, suggesting that unexpected ECB decisions have an immediate impact on the short-term money market rate, the narrow money stock, commodity prices, consumer prices and the euro-dollar exchange rate, and that real output responds gradually. Our close to assumption-free approach obtains as an outcome what traditional sign restrictions on impulse responses impose as an assumption.
WIFO Working Papers, 2020, (607), 18 pages
Online since: 08.09.2020 0:00
Dieses Papier beschreibt den Aufbau und die Funktionsweise des dynamischen Mikrosimulationsmodells microDEMS zur Analyse der ökonomischen Integration von Immigranten und Immigrantinnen in Österreich. Dynamische Mikrosimulation bezeichnet die Simulation einer Bevölkerung, repräsentiert durch eine große Zahl von Individuen, über die Zeit. Simuliert werden neben demographischen Charakteristika wie Alter, Geschlecht und Herkunft verschiedene Aspekte individueller Lebensläufe wie Bildungs- und Erwerbskarrieren. microDEMS (Demographic Change, Employment and Social Security) ist ein am WIFO entwickeltes modulares dynamisches Mikrosimulationsmodell, welches für einen breiten Einsatzbereich in der österreichischen Wirtschaftsforschung konzipiert ist. Der Schwerpunkt dieses Papiers liegt in der Beschreibung jener Module, welche speziell zur Analyse der ökonomischen Integration von Immigrantinnen und Immigranten entwickelt wurden. microDEMS unterstützt die Erstellung von Szenarien zur Immigration nach Herkunft und Typ. Der individuelle (und elterliche) Immigrationshintergrund beeinflusst zahlreiche modellierte Verhalten wie Ausbildungskarrieren, Arbeitsmarktbeteiligung und Emigration. Das Modell erlaubt die Analyse der langfristigen Effekte alternativer Szenarien der Bildungs- und Erwerbsintegration von Immigrantinnen und Immigranten auf die soziodemographische Struktur der in Österreich lebenden Bevölkerung.
WIFO Working Papers, 2020, (606), 38 pages
Revised version (August 2020)
Online since: 28.08.2020 0:00
Labor supply shocks can have substantial effects on the Beveridge Curve. Structural VARs with sign restrictions show that the shocks associated with the free movement of workers from Eastern Europe have temporarily increased unemployment in Austria, a major destination country, by 25 percent and job vacancies by 40 percent. The 2 percent increase in total employment was accompanied by a temporary decline in the employment of domestic workers. The greatest impact is seen in regions bordering on the home countries of the migrant workers. Beyond these findings the paper addresses empirical regularities of labor supply shocks that are at odds with theoretical predictions.
Konjunkturerwartungen verlieren an Dynamik. Ergebnisse des WIFO-Konjunkturtests vom August 2020 (Economic Expectations Lose Momentum. Results of the WIFO-Konjunkturtest (Business Cycle Survey) August 2020)
WIFO Business Cycle Survey, 2020, (8), 13 pages
Supported by: European Commission, DG Economic and Financial Affairs
Study by: Austrian Institute of Economic Research
Online since: 28.08.2020 14:00
Die Konjunktureinschätzungen der österreichischen Unternehmen bleiben trotz weiterer Verbesserung im August skeptisch. Zwar stieg der WIFO-Konjunkturklimaindex (saisonbereinigt) um 4,3 Punkte, er lag aber mit –10,7 Punkten im negativen Bereich. Während sich die Einschätzungen der aktuellen Lage im August weiter verbesserten, schwächte sich die Dynamik der unternehmerischen Erwartungen deutlich ab.
The measures taken to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which at the same time severely restrict economic activity in many countries, have consequences not only on unemployment, trade, production, income and value added, but also on the environment. This analysis examines the effects on greenhouse gas emissions in Austria. For this purpose, a new, lean and very flexible model, ALICE, was developed, which quantifies the short to medium-term effects of changes in production and consumption with regard to output, value added and greenhouse gas emissions. In order to determine the consequences as precisely as possible, 74 economic activities and households are distinguished. The model results show not only the direct consequences, but also the consequences resulting from the interdependence of the economic system. The scenario presented here is based on the forecast published by WIFO in late June 2020, which forecasts a decline in gross domestic product by 7 percent in 2020. The sector-specific declines in value added and expected changes in household consumption behaviour are the input parameters for the model that calculates the associated greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emission – as defined by the Austrian inventory – is estimated to decline by 9.9 percent. This decline is due to the change of economic activities. Factors that also affect the level of emissions, such as ambient temperatures, changes in land use and forest growth, are not considered here. Following the conventions of the greenhouse gas inventory, international aviation is not included in the calculation either. There are several uncertainties because the economy may suffer even more than expected in June 2020. The actual production of industries and the behaviour of households throughout the year, especially with regard to their travel activities, may unfold in a different manner than expected.
WIFO Working Papers, 2020, (604), 20 pages
Online since: 15.07.2020 0:00
Neither a gradually rising carbon tax nor emission trading schemes can ensure that the costs of emitting greenhouse gases, in particular CO2, will steadily rise faster than the general price level. If, e.g., global fossil energy prices decline faster than a carbon tax or the emission permit price rises, then the final good and its use become cheaper. Since the prices of fossil energy as well as CO2 emission permit prices belong to the most unstable prices in the global economy, carbon taxes and trading schemes cannot anchor the long-term expectation that the effective emission costs for firms and households will rise continuously. Such an expectation, however, is a prerequisite for steadily growing investment in energy efficiency and/or renewable energy because the profits from such investments consist of the saved fossil energy costs ("opportunity profits"). This paper presents an alternative approach: the EU sets a path of steadily rising prices of crude oil, coal and natural gas by skimming off the difference between the EU target price and the respective world market price through a monthly adjusted quantity tax. Instead of the prices of fossil raw materials, the (implicit) quantity tax should fluctuate. In this way, the uncertainty about future price developments of crude oil, coal and natural gas and, hence, of the effective emission costs would be eliminated. Firms and households could calculate the profitability of investments in avoiding carbon emissions. At the same time, such a tax would ensure a uniform European carbon price in all sectors, provided the initial level of the price paths of crude oil, coal and natural gas account for the different CO2 intensities of these types of fossil energy. Given the size of the EU import bill for fossil energy, the amount of potential receipts of such an implicit and flexible CO2 tax would be (very) huge.
Erholung der Konjunktureinschätzungen nimmt Gestalt an. Ergebnisse des WIFO-Konjunkturtests vom Juli 2020 (Recovery of Economic Expectations is Taking Shape. Results of the WIFO-Konjunkturtest (Business Cycle Survey) July 2020)
WIFO Business Cycle Survey, 2020, (7), 11 pages
Supported by: European Commission, DG Economic and Financial Affairs
Study by: Austrian Institute of Economic Research
Online since: 30.07.2020 14:00
Der WIFO-Konjunkturklimaindex liegt im Juli trotz eines deutlichen Anstieges (+5,9 Punkte) mit –15,0 Punkten weiter auf einem Niveau, das zuletzt in der Finanzmarkt- und Wirtschaftskrise 2008/09 erreicht wurde. Die österreichischen Unternehmen schätzen die aktuelle Konjunktur weiterhin pessimistisch ein, allerdings nimmt die Verbesserung der Erwartungen deutlicher Gestalt an. In der Bauwirtschaft sind die Unternehmen wesentlich zuversichtlicher als in der Sachgütererzeugung und den Dienstleistungen.
WIFO Working Papers, 2020, (603), 23 pages
Online since: 25.06.2020 0:00
Austria's EU accession 25 years ago, alongside Finland and Sweden, was preceded by an extended period of convergence toward the EU: via the free trade agreement concluded with the EC in 1973, and the participation in the European Economic Area (EEA) in 1994. Although the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 seems to overshadow the overall positive balance of 25 years of EU membership, on average the real GDP growth dividend amounted to 0.8 percentage points per year since 1995. To check the robustness of this result, obtained with an integration macro model, a DSGE model for Austria is used here. Usually other methods are applied to estimate integration effects: trade gravity models, CGE models, macro models. Following in't Veld's (2019) approach with a DSGE model for the EU, we adapt an earlier version of the two-country DSGE model for Austria and the Euro area (Breuss and Rabitsch, 2009) to evaluate the benefits of Austria's EU membership. It turns out that grosso modo the macro results can be confirmed with the DSGE model.
We draw on trade theory to empirically explore the effects of value chain integration on producer price dynamics. Using the EU as an example of an integrated area, we construct measures of backward and forward linkages with intra- and extra-EU trading partners at the country-sector level. We find that especially upstream integration and EU-accession dampen inflation. The results for downstream integration indicate a price-increasing relationship. We propose novel EU integration indicators and offer insights to both theory and applied research. We also add to the policy debate on the price effects of (dis-)integration of EU countries.