Focus on Climate Change
In spring 2022, the first easing of COVID-19 restrictions was barely in sight before the next crisis followed. With the Russian attack on Ukraine, Germany was once again placed in a state of emergency. “The state is tasked with managing these crises, but must not neglect its long-term responsibilities. With our research, we provide orientation for economic policy action and make fact-based information available to the public. Especially in times of uncertainty, this is more important than ever,” explains ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach. The ZEW Annual Report 2021, which has now been published in German, provides an overview of ZEW’s activities in the past year.
The year 2021 once again showed how important climate change research is. The devastating flood disaster in the summer of 2021 made the urgency to act all the more clear. Climate change also plays an important role in ZEW’s research, as ZEW economists analyse the emergence of environmental problems and evaluate possible climate and energy policy measures in order to make economic policy recommendations. Against this background, we have made climate change and the necessary energy transition the focus of our annual report this year.
Economic policy recommendations for the federal election
The ZEW also provided its expertise for the Bundestag elections in September 2021. The election programmes of the parties were examined, among other things, for their distribution effects. The results of the study were picked up by numerous media and discussed in many television rounds on the Bundestag election. In addition, the ZEW formulated ten concrete economic policy recommendations for the new federal government.
30 years of ZEW
Despite the circumstances, there was reason to celebrate in 2021 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of ZEW Mannheim. The development of ZEW from its founding year in 1991 to one of the most important economic research institutes in Germany and Europe was duly celebrated with a festive evening event including a panel discussion. “Over the years, ZEW has achieved a strong position among economic research institutes. I would like to thank all employees for their extraordinary commitment, which forms the basis for ZEW’s great success,” emphasises Thomas Kohl, ZEW’s managing director.
In addition, ZEW was once again able to welcome many important speakers at its numerous public events, including the President of the Federal Constitutional Court Professor Stephan Harbarth, the Chair of the German Ethics Council Professor Alina Buyx, the Chairman of the Board of BASF Dr. Martin Brudermüller and the President of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center Professor Jutta Allmendinger.
ZEW is growing
There was also good news with regard to the scientific-strategic orientation. On 1 January 2021, the new Research Group “Health Care Markets and Health Policy” successfully started its work. The aim is to better understand the economic prerequisites for good health care and to anchor health economics research more firmly in Germany.
Together with the University of Mannheim, ZEW founded the Mannheim Institute for Financial Education (MIFE) in 2021 on the initiative of research department head Prof. Dr. Tabea Bucher-Koenen. This institute conducts basic research on the financial education of consumers.
Annual report allows a look behind the scenes
ZEW employees also have their say in the new annual report. In the form of testimonials, employees comment on the role sustainability and climate protection play at the research institute, for example by promoting commuting by bicycle. The design of the ZEW Annual Report takes up the topic of climate change in a rather atmospheric and abstract way. The ubiquitous circles, for example, visually represent globality and circularity.