EconPol Policy Reports

Investment Screening Mechanisms: The Trend to Control Inward Foreign Investment

Vera Z. Eichenauer (ETH Zurich), Michael Dorsch (Central European University), Feicheng Wang (University of Göttingen)

In an increasing number of sectors, concerns are rising that foreign firm participation may pose risks to public order. Many developed countries have adopted or extended their investment screening mechanisms to control inward foreign direct investment in strategically important sectors over the last years. This paper documents the development of investment screening in OECD and EU countries and provides the first discussion from an economic perspective. We review existing and propose new explanations for the adoption of investment screening. Our exploratory quantitative analysis suggests that countries with higher levels of technological development and with a stricter regulatory environment for foreign investment are more likely to introduce investment screening. Contrary to the popular wisdom, we do not find evidence that higher Chinese inward investments are associated with the implementation of investment screening.

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A Model To Think About Crypto-Assets and Central Bank Digital Currency

Hernán D. Seoane (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

This paper introduces digital assets, crypto assets in general, and Central Bank Digital Currency in particular, into an otherwise standard New-Keynesian closed economy model with Financial Frictions. We use this setting to study the impact of a change in preferences towards the use of digital assets and to address whether the emergence of this type of instruments affect the transmission of monetary policy shocks. In this context we study the introduction of Central Bank Digital Currencies. The model is stylized but it could be a baseline for the design of models for quantitative analysis.

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Fiscal Policies during the Covid-19 Crisis in Austria - A Macroeconomic Assessment

Klaus Weyerstrass (EconPol Europe & IHS Vienna)

This EconPol Policy Report assesses the macroeconomic impact of fiscal policy measures introduced by the Austrian government during the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 and 2021. Large parts of the stimulus package aimed at stabilizing companies, employment and private households. According to the study short-term work schemes were particularly successful. Equally effective were measures supporting companies and the self-employed who were directly affected by the containment measures, e.g. liquidity support (fixed cost subsidies and loss compensations), tax reductions and tax deferrals. While support to private consumption generally is not the recommended fiscal policy reaction to a recession which is caused by government measures to restrict consumption possibilities, support to companies, employees and the self-employed who are affected by the closure of some businesses are appropriate, according to the study. At the same time, those companies that would have left the market anyway should not kept alive articifially, as this would hamper structural change. For the same reason, short-time work schemes should only be offered as long as the contaiment measures or other pandemic-related problems such as supply-chain disruptions prevail.

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Is There a Need for Reverse Mortgages in Germany? Empirical Evidence and Policy Implications

Florian Bartsch (Paris School of Economics), Florian Buhlmann (ZEW Mannheim), Karolin Kirschenmann (ZEW Mannheim), Carolin Schmidt (University of Cambridge)

In the face of shifting demographics capital-funded old-age provision is increasingly becoming important in many European countries. Generating sufficient capital for old-age provision, however, poses a challenge to private households. Homeowners can resort to illiquid housing wealth by using home reversion plans or reverse mort-gages. While reverse mortgages are common in the USA and the UK, a German market is quasi non-existent. This Policy Report provides evidence on the demand- and supply-side reasons for the absence of a reverse mortgage market in Germany. It finds that there is potential for the market to grow in the medium term and could benefit cash-poor but house-rich households, hence decreasing old-age poverty. While the analysis focuses on Germany, its implications are equally relevant for other European countries, in particular for those with higher homeownership rates and less generous public pension schemes.

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Covid-19 Pandemic: Challenges and a Way Forward

Panu Poutvaara, Madhinee Valeyatheepillay (EconPol Europe, ifo Institute, LMU Munich)

Sacrificing lives does not save the economy, according to this latest policy report from Panu Poutvaara and Madhinee Valeyatheepillay: countries that fail to suppress the pandemic risk a disastrous overburdening of their health care system and patients who could have been otherwise saved die. Short of an effective vaccine, no single measure is enough to stop the pandemic. Instead, societies need a combination of effective social distancing measures, careful hygiene, use of masks in indoor public spaces and contact tracing.

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