On 1 August 2020, the renowned environmental and energy economist Professor Sebastian Rausch took up his position as head of the Research Department “Environmental and Resource Economics, Environmental Management” at ZEW Mannheim. “As head of the research department, I look forward to enhancing my research on the design of emissions and energy markets and to contributing to the climate and economic policy debate with my findings,” says Sebastian Rausch.
The ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment Stands at 75.1 points
In August 2020, the ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment for Germany increased again significantly compared to the previous month, after having declined slightly in July. Expectations are now at 71.5 points, 12.2 points higher than in the previous month. The assessment of the economic situation in Germany has slightly worsened, with the corresponding indicator decreasing 0.4 points to minus 81.3 points in the current August survey.
In light of the changes to organisational processes that businesses have had to make due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many firms have realised that there are more tasks that can be carried out from home than previously expected. In the business-related services sector, more than 50 per cent of companies – and in the manufacturing sector, more than 40 per cent – are reporting such digital learning effects. “The widespread recognition among firms that many more tasks can be performed remotely than previously assumed reinforces the impulse the coronavirus crisis is giving to increasing mobile work. Because of these new experiences and insights, many companies are planning to use remote work more regularly after the crisis than they did before,” says Dr. Daniel Erdsiek, a researcher in ZEW’s “Digital Economy” Department. About one in three companies had to invest in new technologies in the short term in order to make remote work arrangements available during the crisis. These are the results of a recent representative survey conducted by ZEW Mannheim in June 2020 among approximately 1,800 companies in the information economy and manufacturing industry.
The economic sentiment in the information and communication technology sector (ICT) in Germany further deteriorated in the second quarter of 2020: The ZEW sentiment indicator for the German ICT sector decreased by 3.5 points compared to the first quarter of 2020, falling to a historic low of 47.6 points. This marks the first time that the ZEW sentiment indicator has dropped below the critical 50-point mark since the survey began in 2011, indicating a negative development of the business situation. In addition to reporting negative expectations regarding turnover and demand for business products, firms in the ICT sector are also pessimistic about imminent personnel changes.
18th ZEW Conference on the Economics of Information and Communication Technologies Goes Virtual
The conference on the Economics of Information and Communication Technologies at ZEW Mannheim has long been considered one of the most important international scientific events in the field of digital economy. The event, which took place for the 18th time, was organised by the ZEW Research Department “Digital Economy” on 2 July 2020 – with one major innovation: Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the event was held virtually for the first time ever and had a reduced programme. With almost 300 international researchers it was extremely successful.