Is the supply side all that counts?

How GermansĀ“s one-sided economic policy has squandered opportunities and is damaging Europe.

In the last decade economic policy in Germany was strongly focused on supply-side policies, and the demand side was mainly ignored. Labour-market and welfare-state reforms reduced firms' costs from wages, social security contributions, and taxes. The aim was to increase incentives for job creation. In the public debate many claim that the implemented supply-side policies were a success story. However, the question is how successful these one-sided supply-side policies have really been since the end of the 1990s. By comparing business cycles in Germany over time, comparing Germany's economic development to other European countries, and by using macro-econometric simulations this question is investigated and all the implemented supply- and demand-side policies of the last ten to fifteen years are examined. It is shown that the implemented structural reforms weakened aggregate demand for a long time. Since appropriate demand-side policies were neglected, the consequence was a long period of stagnating aggregate demand. During this period foreign demand for German goods was nearly the only source for growth impulses. Consequently, German economic and employment performance was worse than in other European economies. Only with more active anti-cyclical demand-side policies and the tripartite policy of safeguarding jobs during the global financial crisis 2008/09 did economic circumstances change. The macro-econometric simulations with the IMK-Model show that a macro-economically oriented wage policy and fiscal and welfare policies that stabilise aggregate demand would have led to a better and more evenly balanced economic performance, to more jobs and less inequality in Germany.


supply_side.pdf5.29 MB
Alexander / Lindner
Fabian / Zwiener