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Topical Terms in Economics

Here you will find explanations of terms from the world of economics that play a role in current public discussions (“Topical Terms in Economics”). With these clearly formulated and theoretically sound explanations, the Ifo Institute seeks to help especially the non-economists to gain a better understanding of economic contexts and to follow the economic-policy discussion. Providing sound economic information to a broad public is one of the main tasks of the Ifo Institute, along with empirical economic research and economic-policy advice.

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  1. Brexit

    In a referendum held on 23 June 2016 the citizens of Britain voted in favour of leaving the European Union. The Ifo Institute examined the implications of a Brexit back in 2015 in a study conducted on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation. The study warns that an exit by Britain would have many negative economic implications not only for the country itself, but also for the EU and Germany. In the worst case scenario free trade would grind to a halt, internal market rules would cease to apply and customs barriers would be re-established. Trade would become expensive – especially for Britain, since the EU market is far more important to the British than Britain is to most EU member states. Details

  2. Joint Economic Forecast

    Twice a year, in the spring and autumn, the Joint Economic Forecast Project Team prepares a report on the state of economic activity in the world and in the German economy for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Details

  3. Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement

    A free trade agreement guarantees that the parties involved enjoy freedom from customs and trade barriers and serves as legal safeguard for unhindered economic exchange. In the framework of a comprehensive free trade agreement, both customs and non-tariff trade constraints such as, for example, import and export bans, are lifted. The current debate focuses on the set up of a transatlantic trade agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP) between the European Union and the USA. The idea of such an agreement is not new - Klaus Kinkel, Germany’s former Foreign Minister, proposed it way back in 1995. Details

  4. Quotas for women

    The term “quotas for women” generally refers to gender-based rules that aim to achieve a gender balance in important governing bodies and leadership positions. The meaningfulness of gender quotas is the subject of heated debate. Proponents of such quotas wish to strengthen equality between men and women using this instrument in areas where one of the sexes is under-represented. Since women are the group most frequently under-represented in top-level positions and quotas aim to address this imbalance, the term "quotas for women" has gained currency. Details

  5. Fracking

    The exploitation of unconventional oil and natural gas deposits via fracking has increased significantly in recent years. In the USA in particular, this technology has boosted crude oil recovery, which was flagging in some cases. Details

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