OECD Economic Surveys: Germany

Frequency :
Every 18 months
1999-0251 (online)
1995-3194 (print)
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OECD’s periodic surveys of the German economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

Also available in: French, German
OECD Economic Surveys: Germany 2014

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13 May 2014
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9789264206939 (PDF) ; 9789264219571 (EPUB) ; 9789264206922 (print)

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OECD's 2014 Economic Survey of Germany examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. Special chapters cover strengthening financial sector resilience, raising the potential of the domestically oriented sector and making economic growth more socially inclusive.

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  • Basic statistics of Germany, 2012

    This Survey is published on the responsibility of the Economic and Development Review Committee of the OECD, which is charged with the examination of the economic situation of member countries.

  • Executive summary

    Main findings

  • Assessment and recommendations

    Economic growth is strengthening but medium-term prospects need to be improved

  • Progress in main structural reforms

    This annex reviews action taken on recommendations from previous Surveys. They cover the following areas: labour market, competition in product markets, the funding of health care, education, public finances, the banking sector, potential growth in a globalised world, as well as climate change mitigation and green growth. Each recommendation is followed by a note of actions taken since the November 2010 Survey. Recommendations that are new in this Survey are listed in the relevant chapters.

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    • Strengthening financial sector resilience

      The German banks have weathered the euro area crisis well thanks to the solid fundamentals of the economy and the safe haven status of German financial assets. Nonetheless, lending growth has fallen in real terms in recent years, reflecting weak demand. The banks are vulnerable to any sharpening of financial market tensions in the euro area and the low interest rate environment. Large derivative exposures among the country’s largest banks, high leverage and market perceptions of strong implicit government guarantees add to these risks. While the public savings banks have performed well and help sustain activity in relatively poor regions, performance among the public Landesbanken has been weak both before and after the global financial crisis. In some respects, the government has moved ahead of many other OECD countries with reforms to reduce risks in the financial sector. Nonetheless, further steps to make the banks more robust would reduce financial risks to the government and improve incentives for banks to take advantage of low interest rates to finance strong, sustainable economic growth. Such steps should include reducing high leverage, ambitious implementation of EU requirements for the reform of resolution legislation and addressing governance problems in the public banking sector.

    • Raising the potential of the domestically oriented sector

      Germany’s manufacturing sector, which plays an important role for exports, has been performing well over the past decade in terms of labour productivity growth and international competitiveness. However, the services sector has had much slower growth rates. Competition often appears to be hindered by protection of incumbents. Reforming and deregulating the domestically oriented sectors, including network industries, crafts and professional services would release hidden growth potential and prove beneficial to the economy as a whole. It could also help strengthen domestic demand and reduce dependence on exports.

    • Making economic growth more socially inclusive

      While past labour market reforms have been successful in terms of employment, the relative poverty risk and income inequality have remained broadly unchanged in recent years. Some social groups remain particularly vulnerable, including individuals in non-regular employment, the unemployed and the low skilled. If in employment, their jobs tend to be unstable and wages and income mobility low. Continued efforts are needed to foster economic growth in a more inclusive manner, such that the most vulnerable groups benefit from and contribute to economic growth more strongly and such that the gaps between the rich and the poor in terms of income and wellbeing are reduced. These efforts should include enhancing the labour market outcomes of the most vulnerable and increase upward income mobility among disadvantaged individuals; strengthening skills at the lower end of the skills distribution; revising the tax and benefit system to improve incentives and ensure efficient and well-targeted redistribution; and to make health and old-age pension insurance more inclusive.

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