Portfolio investment | Eastern Europe | Capital Market | Central Europe

The equity markets of the former communist countries in Central and East Europe are approaching western standards, even though at different paces. According to western portfolio managers, Hungary, Poland, and Estonia have progressed most in the on-going reform process. By contrast, the Czech Republic and, even to a greater extent, Russia have still some catching up to do. These are the findings of a current study carried out by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim.

Financial market | Eastern Europe | Stock Market | Capitalism

East Europe is on the rise. These are the findings of a study conducted by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim among financial market experts.

Variations in demand | Business related service providers | Business Cycle | Increase in turnover

Finally, 1999 has finished positively for business-related service providers: with a seasonally adjusted annual sales growth rate of 4.9 per cent in the final quarter of 1999, economic figures for business-related service providers are again shifted towards the peaks of mid-1998. At that time, the seasonally adjusted annual sales growth rate was 5.4 per cent.

Early retirement | Employment effect | Tariff funds | Unemployment

Report of the Centre for European Economic Research on employment effects of early retirement. The Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim analysed the costs and employment effects of a "pension at 60". The financial requirements for an aggregate tariff fund is about DM 60 billion. The employment effects, by contrast, are small. A total of merely 10,000 to 50,000 jobs would be made available over a period of ten years.

Internationalization | Firm formation | Technology

At yesterday evening's press conference, the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim and the London Business School (LBS) presented the findings of their study on the rapid internationalisation of start-ups in Germany and the UK.

Renewable Energies | Network operators | Electricity Feeding Act

The draft bill of the government parties for a German Renewable Energy Act addresses many criticisms of renewable energy associations and power supply companies concerning the current Electricity Feed Act ("Stromeinspeisegesetz"). Both from a regulatory standpoint as well as in the context of European law and constitutional concerns, however, the current draft can only be a temporary solution in case of its implementation.

Single taxation (company / shareholder) | European Tax Analyzer | Tax reform | Federal Government

On December 21st, 1999, the German government tabled the key proposals for their "Tax Reform Package 2000". Accordingly, the aim is to create additional incentives for investors and thus to shore Germany's international competitive position. At the heart of the package is a proposal to cut corporate taxes on retained profits from 40 per cent and on distributed profits from 30 per cent to the uniform rate of 25 per cent with effect from January 1st, 2001. The dividend imputation system will be abolished and replaced by a so-called half-income assessment method, according to which only 50 per cent of the dividend will be deemed taxable income in order to reduce the effect of double taxation from income and corporate income tax. The reciprocal financing measures include a reduction of degressive depreciation rates for movable assets (e.g. machines) from 30 to 20 per cent and for immovables from four to three per cent.

Monetary Developments | Monetary policy decisions | ECB | Inflation | Capital Market

Dissatisfaction prevails among many players on the capital market due to the lack of transparency in ECB decision-making. For the first time, this dissatisfaction was captured empirically by a survey conveyed by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim. The survey polled 330 financial market experts from banks, insurances and companies based in Germany. When asked about the transparency in ECB decision-making regarding monetary policy, 53.3 per cent of financial experts held that the ECB Governing Council does not yet provide a sufficient level of transparency in this regard. By contrast, 46.7 per cent deem the decision-making process to be sufficiently predictable.

Business related service providers | Service industry | collective agreement

The formation of the ver.di trade union for the services' sector planned for this week gives rise to the question as to extent of the compliance with collective agreements in the services sector. In any case, it is far below the macroeconomic average in the business-related services sector. For instance, only about one third of the revenue in this sector is generated by businesses complying with collective agreements. This is the result of a representative survey among 1,100 business-related service providers carried out by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim, in collaboration with the "Verband der Vereine Creditreform" in Neuss. The economic sector of business-related services encompasses tax advisors and certified public accountants, business consultants, architects, technical consultants and planners, vehicle renting, machine renting, cargo handling and logistic firms, software providers, advertising agencies and waste management firms.

Old-age security | Occupational pension schemes | old age provision

The increasingly heated debate on pensions during the last months has revealed that, in the future, individuals will need to make additional pension provisions going beyond the statutory pension insurance in order to safeguard the accustomed standard of living in old age. At the same time, many businesses find themselves forced to revise and modify their previous workplace pension scheme due to the growing international competitive pressure. Other firms are concerned with the question whether the introduction of a workplace pension scheme as part of an attractive compensation package holds any advantages for them.


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