Talking Point
Unemployment benefit Q and the elusive quest for social justice
Time to enhance (social) justice is the election campaign slogan of the SPD and its leadership candidate, Martin Schulz. To bring this slogan to life the chancellor candidate and the Federal Minister for Labour, Andrea Nahles, recently presented plans for specific labour market policy measures. The duo is proposing that the existing unemployment benefit be extended to include an additional component and that the eligibility criteria be relaxed. The idea of the new benefit Q (for qualification) is to grant registered recipients the right to participate in qualification programmes. It could double the benefit period – for younger jobseekers from one to two years and for those aged 58 and above from two to four years.  [more]
Global financial markets
Large or small? How to measure bank size
Policymakers, clients and bankers themselves wish to know what constitutes a large bank. What is the right indicator to look at if a supervisor is interested in systemic importance and risks to financial stability? What is the right indicator to look at if a company needs a bank that can provide large-scale financing and take on substantial hedging risks? Various measures are currently in use, each with strengths and shortcomings. Regulators and academics mostly look at total assets, an accounting figure. Others reach conclusions from Tier 1 capital or market cap, two regulation- and market-based indicators. This study discusses these and other measures in detail. It draws quantitative comparisons, including across countries and different financial systems, and proposes one indicator that is best suited to measure bank size. [more]
Germany
Focus Germany: Investment: Public, residential – gradually picking up
In international debate public investment is often regarded as a useful lever for promoting higher domestic demand. Despite international criticism and political declarations of intent, public investment in Germany has only increased moderately over the past two years and has remained average, at best, on an international scale. In the coming years, however, public investment is expected to grow significantly. The current investment plans for the federal budget are 40% higher than those adopted in 2013. Public contracts for the construction industry in 2016 were between 15 and 27% above the average of the previous 10 years. The excellent state of the public finances at the various government levels also supports the prospect of increasing investment growth. However, severe capacity shortages in the construction industry are likely to mean that the high demand for investment will not quickly lead to an increase in construction activity. (Further articles: German housing market, Corporate bond boom in Germany, Result of the Saarland election) [more]
 
 
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