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Germany Monitor

In the "Germany Monitor" series we address political and structural issues which have great significance for Germany. These include commentaries on elections and political decisions, as well as technology and industry issues, and macro-economic topics which go beyond the business cycle matters addressed in "Focus Germany".

6 Documents
December 5, 2013
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1
The findings of our study show that in both the periods before and after the Lehman collapse higher liquidity and lower risk aversion go hand in hand with lower yield spreads between federal bonds and Länder bonds. With regard to the influence of fundamental macroeconomic and fiscal variables on the yield spread there are, however, differences between the periods before and after the Lehman collapse. Up until the Lehman collapse neither the debt level nor the relative economic output had a significant impact on the size of the yield spread. Like in the European bond market, however, the economic output and the debt levels of the Länder have been major determinants of the yield spread since 2008 – despite (implicit) joint liability of the different levels of government. [more]
January 16, 2013
2
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance (FATCA) provisions of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code comprise an important broadening of the international reach of the U.S. tax system. This law is aimed at countering tax evasion by U.S. citizens and residents who receive earnings from assets held offshore. Currently a growing number of Intergovernmental Agreements between the United States and partner countries are being negotiated to overcome the conflict of laws issues raised by the application of FATCA as well as to simplify implementation and reduce compliance costs. [more]
March 14, 2012
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3
“Unity in diversity” – is how the debt and financing structure of Germany’s Länder could be neatly summed up, since there are very significant differences between the regions with regard to both the volume and the type and maturity of the debt. Whereas in the past the Länder mainly financed themselves by borrowing from credit institutions, the importance of capital market paper has grown sharply in the meantime. For example, the volume of Länder bonds has risen to more than EUR 300 bn of late. A highly important factor in this connection is the solidarity within the federal state, as the Länder benefit from the good credit rating of the Federation when they procure capital market funding. [more]
September 15, 2011
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4
2010 saw the establishment of Germany's Stability Council, a joint body representing the Federation and the Länder with a mandate to avert serious budget problems. At the third meeting of the Council in late May 2011 it wasted no time in formally determining the existence of a looming budgetary emergency in the four Länder of Berlin, Bremen, Saarland und Schleswig-Holstein. These four states have until mid-October to devise five-year restructuring programmes mapping out how they intend to eliminate their budget imbalances. What does this mean for federal and Länder fiscal policy in practice? And how is this to be viewed against the backdrop of the new debt brakes to be installed as of 2016 and 2020, respectively? How does this approach to more sustainable financial planning and greater coordination compare with efforts at the EU level? [more]
May 27, 2011
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5
The financial situation of Germany’s Länder, or constituent federal states, is often overshadowed by the situation of the Federation and the municipalities. In the course of this year DB Research plans to publish a series of articles on various topics pertaining to the Länder and their finances. This launch study aims to highlight the complex financial relations between the Federation and the Länder as well as the latter’s limited autonomy. The Länder are allowed to make largely autonomous decisions solely in respect of borrowing; capital market financing has gained considerable significance for a number of them. The scope of the financial equalisation system and the judgements handed down by the Federal Constitutional Court ensure the practical anchoring of the solidarity principle, which is tantamount to a joint liability system with a bail-out guarantee. More Länder autonomy – partly by means of a surcharge on income tax – would make sense. The creation of the Stability Council and a debt brake at Länder level has for the first time produced a preventive instrument for timely corrective action in the event of budget imbalances. [more]
February 5, 2008
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6
Recent progress on budget consolidation notwithstanding, there is still no consistent focus in Germany on higher-quality public finances, on either the expenditure or revenue side. What is more, the institutional fiscal policy framework is not state-of-the-art. In this paper, which also features an article by invitation from the Federal Ministry of Finance, we examine other countries’ experience in improving the quality of their public finances and discuss the conditions for political success – on both the federal and state level and EU-wide. [more]
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