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CESifo Seminars 1999-2001

Forerunner of the Munich Seminars

Vito Tanzi, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Would you Like to Shrink the Welfare State? The Opinions of European Citizens
05 March 2001

Axel Börsch-Supan, University of Mannheim
Would you Like to Shrink the Welfare State? THe Opinions of European Citizens
19 February 2001

Jürgen Donges, University of Cologne
Arbeitsplätze durch Arbeitsmarktöffnung
12 February 2001

Hannelore Weck-Hannemann, University of Innsbruck
Acceptance of Pricing Instruments in the Transport Sector: Politico-Economic and Fairness Considerations
22 January 2001

Thomas Padoa-Schioppa, European Central Bank
The EU Facing the US Miracle
15 January 2001

Harry Grubert, US Treasury
Systems for Taxing Cross-Border Income: How do they work and what will future pressures be?
20 November 2000

Hary Garretsen, University of Nijmegen
The Empirical Relevance of the New Economic Geography
9 November 2000

Bernd Felderer, University of Cologne
Why do Long-term Economic Trends in the US differ from Those in Europe?
9 October 2000

Stephen Nickell, London School of Economics
A Picture of the Job Insecurity facing British Men. See paper
25 September 2000

Stefan Homburg, University of Hannover
Steuerreform 2000 - eine ökonomische Bewertung
11 September 2000

Georges de Menil, DELTA, Paris
The Place of Funded Pensions in Transition Economics. See paper
10 July 2000

Frans van Winden, University of Amsterdam
An Experimental Investigation of Wage Taxation and Unemployment in a Closed and a Small Open Economy
03 July 2000

Friedrich Schneider, University of Linz
Steigende Schwarzarbeit in Deutschland - Eine staats- und wirtschaftspolitische Herausforderung. See paper
19 June 2000

Wolfgang Wiegard, University of Regensburg
Energiesteuern und Beschäftigungseffekte
29 May 2000

Rebecca Blank, Universtiy of Michigan
What can be learned from US welfare reform about effectively fighting poverty?
10 April 2000

In her talk Professor Blank analysed the effects of the reform of the welfare system in the USA. The main aims of the 1990s reform were to reduce welfare dependence and to bring women with children into the labour market. She pointed out that the poverty rate fell as a result of the reciprocal reinforcement of the prospering economy, the welfare reform and even the political measure of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). According to Professor Blank it is too early to judge the long-term effects of the reform.

Konrad Stahl, University of Mannheim
Case Studies and their Relevance for Industrial Organisation (IO)
28 February 2000

Professor Stahl used his talk to present a book project concerned with the evaluation of existing theoretical IO models on the basis of cases. According to Stahl, economists frequently fill theoretical models with observable data to derive results. In this project he will try to work the other way round. Starting out from the empirical data, Stahl tries to discriminate between theoretical IO models. His aim is to increase the transparency of IO approaches. Therefore, the model should be as simple as possible and non-complex. This reduction allows for individual specifications in line with the economic peculiarities of different branches. The approach should help to analyse managerial behaviour and to improve a firm's market strategy. Stahl's intention is to bridge the gap between economics and business administration.

Friedrich Breyer, Australian National University
Ageing, Medical Pogress and Health Care Expenditures: A Regression Analysis
21 February 2000

The central point of Professor Breyer's talk was the future financing of the German welfare state. He presented an approach to assess future expenses of the German statutory health insurance by means of regression analysis instead of applying age specific spending profiles. With this method he forecast the individual rates of contribution for the "crisis years" 2030 to 2040. His figures are much higher than, for example, those predicted by PROGNOS. According to Breyer, the main difference between the two approaches is the explicit modelling of the medical progress in the regression analysis, which is neglected by PROGNOS. In the light of his results, a radical reform of the health system appears to be even more urgent than previously thought.

Peter Birch Sorensen, Copenhagen
The Case for International Tax Co-ordination Reconsidered
14 February 2000

The paper presented by Peter Birch Sørensen complements the paper presented by Kai Konrad on 17 January. In his pioneering work Sørensen empirically documented the existence of international tax competition, explained the international spillover effects of national tax policies and estimated the welfare gains from international tax co-ordination by applying a general equilibrium model. Like Kai Konrad, he found that if tax co-ordination at the global level fails, regional co-ordination within the EU is likely to bring only modest welfare gains. He outlined that tax competition and tax co-ordination may have strong effects on income distribution.

Norbert Walter, Deutsche Bank Research
Alterung und Niedergang Japans und Europas - unentrinnbares Schicksaal?
7 February 2000

In his talk Professor Norbert Walter, chief economist at the Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt, outlined that the core problem which Japan and Europe, especially Germany, are currently facing is low human fertility combined with an increase in life expectancy. According to Walter, these developments will result in severe financial and structural problems for the economic and social systems. His idea for solving these problems is to improve the economies' supply conditions and to further liberalise the growth markets. He stresses five reform elements of outstanding importance: firstly, the liberalisation of labour markets, secondly, the reform of the educational system, thirdly, the reduction of the tax and fiscal charges burden, fourthly the reduction of the public sector share in GNP, and finally the liberalisation of migration policies.

Reinhard Schmidt, Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt
Finanzsysteme und Komplimentarität
31 January 2000

In his presentation Professor Schmidt described his concept of complementarity to determine whether the financial systems of various European countries have become more similar in recent years or can be expected to do so in the near future. According to Schmidt, the concept of complementarity allows the identification of the fundamental structures of financial systems, of ways in which they differ, and of ways in which they change. He outlined that if a financial system does in fact exhibit complementarity, then it has far-reaching implications for the methodology used to analyse financial systems, for policies intended to improve financial systems and for the dynamics of financial systems, and thus also for the likelihood that financial systems and their efficiency levels will converge.

Kai A. Konrad, Freie Universität Berlin
Fortress Europe in Global Tax Competition
17 January 2000 [click here to view presentation in German]

Capital taxation and tax harmonisation have been at the forefront of the economic discussion in recent years. In his talk Kai Konrad analysed the question as to whether a group of countries could gain from harmonising their taxes if the rest of the world does not follow suit. He shows that harmonisation among a subgroup of countries increases welfare in the non-co-operating countries but also to a lesser extent in the co-operating countries. Worldwide harmonisation would lead to higher welfare but is for many reasons a difficult task.

Pierre Pestieau, University of Liege
Social Security and Early Retirement
13 December 1999

The old age crisis is widely debated and a number of solutions and explanations have been suggested. In his talk Professor Pestieau argued that the only way to get out of the old age crisis is to increase the age of retirement. Most countries, however, are in the process of doing exactly the contrary. According to Pestieau, changing the retirement age means changing the structure of incentives. Therefore, it is the responsibility of politics to create public awareness of the demographic problem.

Karel Dyba, Ministry of Finance, Prague
The Czech Economy Ten Years After
29 November 1999

In his talk Professor Dyba analysed the Czech economy ten yeas after the fall of the Iron Curtain. He emphasised that the transformation process has already gone remarkably far: privatisation has been brought forward, prices have been largely liberalised and harmonisation towards EU-standards has made good progress. In his opinion, the economic crisis which the Czech Republic is currently facing can be mainly attributed to the overly restrictive monetary stance taken by the central bank in the middle of the nineties. This crisis should soon be overcome by means of economic policy co-ordination. From his point of view, the EU enlargement is economically, politically and socially of great importance for the Eastern European candidates.

Bernd Rudolph, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Ansätze und Regulierung des Risikomanagements im Kreditbereich der Banken.
25 October 1999 [click here to view presentation in German]

Risks from the derivative business are subject to strict qualitative requirements and quantitative limits. The Basle Capital Adequacy Accord permits internal risk models whose design is left to the banks themselves, provided certain conditions are met. This more precise measurement procedure in the market risk area now requires an ‘answer’ in the credit risk area. In his talk Professor Rudolph looked at the special problems of such an approach, and presented and discussed various approaches to credit risk measurement. He concluded that both substantial methodological and market problems remain.

Ronald MacDonald, Strathclyde University
Exchange Rate Behaviour: Are Fundamentals Important?
11 October 1999

One of the controversial issues in the international literature concerns the role of economic fundamentals in explaining exchange rate behaviour. Professor MacDonald disagreed with the widely held belief that fundamentals cannot be used to predict medium-term exchange rate developments (up to 36 months). Standard theories such as PPP barely explain the "right" exchange rate, whereas the Behavioural Equilibrium Exchange Rate works quite well. In his own forecasting model, MacDonald uses fundamental data to predict long- and medium-term exchange rates and produces "real time" estimates which outperform a random walk as short as two months, not to mention the forex marker professionals´ forecast.

David Bradford, Princeton University
Risk to Ocean Circulation in Climate Policy Calculus: Lessons from an Integrated Assessment Model
26 July 1999 [see CESifo Working Paper No. 199]

Climate modellers have recognised the possibility of abrupt climate changes caused by a reorganisation of the North Atlantic current pattern (technically known as a thermohaline circulation collapse). This circulation system now warms western Europe and transports carbon dioxide to the deep oceans. The posited collapse of this system could produce severe cooling in Europe, even when general global warming is in progress. In this seminar Bradford described how a simple integrated assessment model could be used to investigate the optimal policy response to this risk, and demonstrated how adding the constraint of avoiding a thermohaline circulation collapse would significantly reduce the allowable greenhouse gas emissions in the long run along an optimal path. His analysis implied that relatively small damages associated with a collapse (less than 1% of gross world product) would justify a considerable reduction of future carbon dioxide emissions.

Erkki Koskela, University of Helsinki
The Economic Crisis of the 1990s in Finland
5 July 1999

Erkki Koskela (University of Helsinki and CESifo) not only produced an interesting account highlighting the stylised facts which characterise the Finnish crisis of the early 1990s. He also put the crisis into perspective. Koskela argued that the Finnish crisis, from the dramatic devaluation in 1992 to the surge in unemployment from 3 to almost 20 percent by the mid 1990s, had its roots in poorly designed financial deregulation. As in other recent financial crises, from South America to Asia, the government severely underestimated the possible consequences of these reforms for the real economy. Koskela provided econometric evidence for the links between the financial and real sectors of the Finnish economy. Furthermore, he forcefully argued that high private sector indebtedness, in conjunction with crisis, plays an important role in explaining the recent persistence in unemployment haunting the Finnish economy.

Barbara Wolfe and Robert Haveman, University of Wisconsin
From Welfare to Work in the United States
20 May 1999

The 1996 United States welfare reform and the Wisconsin reform that preceded it have attracted international attention. In this seminar, Haveman and Wolfe described the nature of the reform, emphasising both the changes in economic incentives brought about by the legislation and the increased income inequality in response to the legislation. They concluded that the reforms succeeded in setting the right incentives for welfare recipients to take up work. However, the reforms might be costly for states and the welfare position of the poor might be lower than before. Haveman and Wolfe stressed the positive role of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program, which subsidises work instead of forcing people into the labour force, as most of the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) legislation does.


Olga Ring

CESifo GmbH
Phone: +49(0)89/9224-1395
Fax: +49(0)89/9224-1409
Email: ring @

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