Research
Pension reform | Social Insurance | Family | Public pension system
Households in the lower and middle income brackets would benefit more from the reform than those with higher incomes.

The future viability of Germany’s state pension system is ensured by families with children. In the social security system, however, there is no special allowance for those with children, which means that working parents pay the same pension contributions as those without children. A study conducted by Mannheim’s Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy considered the consequences of introducing a child allowance of 7,248 euros per child in the state pension system. The study estimated the impact on the national budget, income distribution, and the labour market. It found that families with at least one member paying compulsory pension contributions and with allowable children would save on average 594 euros per year under the reform.

China Economic Barometer
Business Cycle | Short-term forecast | China | ZEW-PwC Indicator of Economic Sentiment China

The increasing protectionism of the US government could intensify trade relations between Germany and China. Business executives of German companies operating in China expect the two countries to grow closer in the future. Two thirds anticipate that German-Chinese trade relations will intensify. Meanwhile, only 13 per cent of those surveyed predict that the Chinese government will offer something along the lines of a "China First" response to the situation in the USA. These are the findings of the current ZEW-PwC China Economic Barometer, a survey carried out by the Mannheim-based Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) together with the accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on a quarterly basis among business executives of German companies operating in China. 44 executives took part in the most recent survey.

Research
Football (Sport) | Labour Market | Social integration | Integration | Migrants
A group of young male refugees participated in the football project HEIMSTÄRKE in selected locations in the Rhine Neckar region

The immigration of large numbers of refugees in 2015 has presented Germany with the challenge of integrating newly arriving foreigners. A recent ZEW study examined the integration of a group of refugees participating in the HEIMSTÄRKE football project, which aims to promote integration into German society and the German labour market through sport. The study suggests that participation in the project has positive effects. It also considered the migrants' socio-economic characteristics, the financial costs of their escape, and aspects of their integration into the labour market. The ZEW study was carried out as part of the 'Real-World Lab Asylum' project in the Rhine-Neckar region.

In Memoriam
commemoration | Europe | Regional government | Baden-Württemberg | ZEW
As Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg from 1978 to 1991, Lothar Späth campaigned for the foundation of ZEW.

On 21 March 2017, the government of Baden-Württemberg and the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim held a memorial event to pay tribute to the former Minister-President and co-initiator of ZEW, Professor Lothar Späth. With the help of Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann MdL, EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther H. Oettinger, as well as other former colleagues of Späth, the event held at ZEW offered insights into Späth's ideas for an economically powerful and Central European Baden-Württemberg with regard to the current and future development of Europe.

Research
Facebook | Social Media | Innovation | Enterprise | Social networks
Companies should actively make use of social networks to gather feedback from customers and users.

Companies can benefit from actively gathering feedback from social network users by improving and further developing their products and services based on this feedback. Taking a look at the contents of user comments on Facebook shows that negative user comments in particular can positively affect a company's innovation success. These are the findings of a recent study carried out by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim.

China Economic Panel
China Economic Panel | Business survey | Greater China | Short-term forecast | Cyclical indicator | China
In March, the CEP Indicator improves significantly and is now at 14.5 points.

According to the current survey for March (28 February – 16 March 2017), the economic outlook for China has significantly improved by 18.7 points. The CEP Indicator, which reflects the expectations of international financial market experts regarding China’s macroeconomic development over the coming twelve months, is currently at 14.5 points (February 2017: minus 4.2 points). This is the first time since July 2016 that the indicator has significantly exceeded the long-term average of 5.1 points. The surveyed experts' assessment of the current situation at 3.3 points was one point lower than the previous month's assessment.

Research
Real estate | Real estate price | Financial market | ZEW Financial Market Survey
The majority of the financial analysts agreed that housing prices in Germany\\\'s major cities were currently fundamentally overvalued.

A perceptible drop in the price of residential properties in Germany's major cities would not endanger the country's financial stability in any serious way. This is the finding of a survey carried out among over 200 financial market experts in March 2017 by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, as part of the monthly ZEW Financial Market Survey. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of the surveyed financial analysts agreed that housing prices in Germany's major cities were currently fundamentally overvalued.

Comment
Federal Reserve Bank | Interest Rate | Interest rate policy | ECB

Three months after the last rate hike in December 2016, the US Federal Reserve System has decided to raise the federal funds rate again, to a range between 0.75 and 1.0 per cent. Friedrich Heinemann, head of the ZEW Research Department "Corporate Taxation and Public Finance" at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim, comments:

ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment
Business Cycle | Cyclical indicator | Short-term forecast | Germany | Business survey | ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment
ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment for Germany, March 2017

The ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment for Germany improved slightly by 2.4 points in March 2017, with the indicator now standing at 12.8 points. The long-term average, which has been calculated since the survey was begun, is 23.9 points. "The fact that the ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment only shows a slight upward movement is a reflection of the current uncertainty surrounding future economic development. With regard to the economic situation in Germany, no clear conclusions can be drawn from the most recent economic signals for January 2017. While industrial production and exports witnessed a positive development, the figures for incoming orders and retail sales were less favourable. The political risks resulting from upcoming elections in a number of EU countries are keeping uncertainty surrounding the German economy at a relatively high level," comments ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach, PhD.

Comment
Monetary policy decisions | Interest Rate | Interest rate policy | Monetary Policy | ECB
The ECB has decided to continue its bond-purchase programme as planned until the end of the year.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has decided to leave its key interest rates unchanged and to continue its bond-purchase programme as planned until the end of the year. Professor Friedrich Heinemann, head of the ZEW Research Department "Corporate Taxation and Public Finance" at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), comments on the ECB's decision.

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