1. Research
  2. About us
  3. Analysts
  4. Marc Schattenberg

Working from home potential only half fulfilled in Germany. Is there a productivity paradox?

April 28, 2021
We compare the current debate with the discussion about the introduction of the computer in the 1980s. Then as now, positive and negative effects on a macroeconomic level could almost cancel each other out at first. Accordingly, we anticipate that the question of productivity is only likely to be answered in some years’ time. [more]

More documents from Marc Schattenberg

43 Documents
December 15, 2021
4% GDP growth in 2022, despite technical recession in winter half. A synchronous acceleration should result in annual GDP growth of 4%. In 2023, quarterly GDP growth will slow towards trend. In fiscal policy ambitious spending plans and debt brake commitment lead to open funding questions. Based on the previous fiscal regime, the fiscal deficit is set to narrow considerably. Still, the new government’s big spending plans, which are not yet quantifiable, could drive deficits considerably higher. Inflation decelerating from 5%+ rates, but higher core rate more permanent. Carryover effects and cost pressures will keep CPI inflation elevated. In 2023, headline and core rates are unlikely to fall below 2%. German politics 2022: “Team Scholz” will focus on climate protection and sizeable corporate tax allowances for green and digital investments. German EU policy might be less fiscal orthodox and open to a cautious reform of the EU’s fiscal rules. [more]
November 19, 2021
In the face of rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates causing regional bottlenecks in intensive care units, the current caretaker federal government and heads of federal states agreed on further restrictions yesterday. From now on, the hospitalisation ratio in federal states will be the new single most important indicator to watch. It measures how many COVID-19 patients per 100,000 people have been hospitalised during the last 7 days. As soon as certain thresholds are exceeded, new restrictions will come into effect. In this Germany Blog, we explain the new thresholds and measures in detail and provide an economic assessment to illustrate the impact. [more]
November 5, 2021
Another "COVID winter". GDP growth failed to accelerate further in Q3, as the supply shortages provided an increasing drag on industrial output. The supply chain issues will prevail throughout the winter half and only taper off very gradually during 2022. While private consumption was the growth engine in summer, the recent strong increase in the number of new COVID-19 infections will slow consumer spending during winter. Absent Q3 details we now expect GDP to stagnate in the winter half, but acknowledge the increasing risks of negative quarters. Given the upward revisions to H1 (published with the Q3 GDP flash) this would still result in an average growth rate of 2.5% yoy for 2021. Further upside surprises at all stages of inflation have, despite an increasing tightness in the labour market, not (yet) started a price-wage spiral. Also in this issue: The next German government is in the making. [more]
October 14, 2021
During the coming years, Germany’s potential growth rate will come under increasing pressure from demographic developments, it looks set to slow to just below ¾%. Shrinking potential growth will dampen cyclical resilience and tend to reduce debt sustainability. The new government should focus even more on potential growth. After all, it would be the great binding theme between the efficient and at the same time climate-friendly economy, demographics and the megatrend of digitalization. In the short term, rising energy expenses and the regulatory shortening of the useful life of machinery and equipment have a similar effect to a negative supply shock. If efforts to seize the opportunity for new investment and the installation of adequate replacements fail, the production-relevant capital stock would shrink, thus reducing potential growth. [more]
July 27, 2021
The recent flood caused by heavy rain was among the most severe natural disasters hitting Germany since reunification. More than 170 people lost their lives and many private homes and public buildings, roads and municipal infrastructure were destroyed. Since the flooding occurred in regions with low industrial density, the expected negative impact on overall economic activity, in particular on industrial production, should be relatively limited. Still, the regional impact on agricultural production (such as wine-growing) might be significant. Some of the most recent polls already fully capture post-flood views. As expected, there is no big shift in voter preferences. The events will likely confirm voters' previous choices. [more]
June 17, 2021
The demand for office space will be largely shaped by the development of home office over the decade. There is no doubt that remote work has the potential to reduce demand for office space substantially and uncertainty remains unusually high. But our projections show that even with a strong expansion of home office, demand for office space could remain high. We continue to expect that the traditional office will remain the hub of economic life. [more]
June 10, 2021
Q2 GDP should be o.k., despite April’s little stumble. Strong external demand and depleted finished goods inventories suggest a strong bounce back once current supply constraints ease. Consumers’ economic outlook and income expectations are improving. Together with an expected normalization of the savings rate that should provide a strong underpinning for consumption growth. We stick to our Q2 GDP forecast of close to 2% qoq and 4% for the whole year. The rate of inflation has been rising sharply since the start of 2021. With price dynamics continuing to outstrip expectations and given the prospect of stronger economic recovery in the summer, we now expect the annual average CPI inflation rate to rise to 2.8% in 2021, monthly numbers could even touch 4%. [more]
May 7, 2021
The catalysts for a strong expansion of the German economy during the summer half are falling into place: Global demand is picking up strongly and the vaccination momentum is finally accelerating. Given the slightly smaller than expected drop of Q1 GDP (-1.7%) and upward revisions to H2 2020, we have lifted our GDP forecast for 2021 from 3.7% to 4.0%. Meanwhile election polls are hanging firmly in the balance. The nominations of Annalena Baerbock and Armin Laschet as chancellor candidates have clearly helped the Greens to gain ground. The current shift in voters’ sentiment allows for a whole bunch of coalition options. [more]
March 1, 2021
The COVID-19-related restrictions on German public life in the winter half of 2020/21 have again noticeably limited the consumption possibilities of private households. Large parts of brick and mortar retail trade as well as service businesses relying on personal interaction had to close, tourism and most of the hospitality industry lie fallow. The unwinding of this pent-up demand will be key to a post-lockdown recovery. But how much momentum can be expected from a meltdown of additional savings induced by the COVID-19 restrictions? To quantify an answer to this question, we present two scenarios. A conservative scenario assumes that about 30% of additional savings will flow back into private consumption in 2021, while almost 70% would remain in household deposits or assets. In an upside scenario with 40% of the additional savings flowing back into spending in 2021 already, our private consumption forecast would be lifted by a good 1pp providing a ½ pp upside for German GDP in 2021. [more]
February 17, 2021
German GDP: Down (Q1) but not out (in 2021). The longer “hard” lockdown, weather-related losses in construction and impairments in car output due to chip supply problems have prompted us to cut our Q1 GDP forecast to -2% qoq. We continue to expect a strong rebound in the summer half propelled by healthy global demand, supportive fiscal and monetary policy and German households’ pent-up demand. Inflation: Now expecting 2% for 2021! The Jan print of 1% yoy surprised massively to the upside, in part due to one-offs. But the strong rise in core goods prices begs the question whether the Jan readings could herald stronger underlying inflation dynamics. There are still strong arguments for a continuation of structurally low inflation dynamics. However, we see risk that price dynamics could strengthen more strongly through impaired supply conditions. Overall, we now project the inflation rate to average 2.0% in 2021. Towards the end of 2021 the headline rate could spike to as much as 3% before easing to 1 ½% in Q1 2022. [more]
January 25, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has already changed and will continue to change working conditions in the long run. Companies have opened up for work from home solutions and hybrid work models seem to be the future. The recent increase in flexibility will enable companies to realise efficiency gains. On its own, however, remote working does not necessarily increase productivity per se. As employees work remotely, serendipity suffers. In Germany, demand for traditional office space appears likely to weaken in the medium term but the decline is likely to be smaller than the initial euphoria for remote working suggested. Demographic developments will considerably reduce the German workforce. Remote working may help to ensure workforce participation. We expect that working at the office and remote working will be combined in some way in the future - work from home has come to stay. [more]
December 10, 2020
The COVID cycle and vaccination progress will drive the economy in 2021. We expect that infection rates will not come down decisively before Q2. By summer vaccination numbers should reach critical mass. A strong recovery starting in Q2 should yield an annual GDP increase of 4.5% after a 5.5% drop in 2020.
All attention on the super election year 2021: Germany is facing federal elections and multiple state elections. Our baseline scenario is a conservative-green government, but coalition talks will significantly test the willingness to compromise on both sides.
(Also in this issue: global trade and exports, private consumption, labour market, equipment and other investment, the German housing market, public finances, inflation, German industry's corona losses) [more]