Selected Projects

Commodity Market Behavior in Different States of the Economy

Principal Investigator: Michael Obersteiner (IIASA)
Project Team: Ines Fortin, Jaroslava Hlouskova
Project Duration: July 2018 – July 2020
Funding: FWF P30915-G27

Project Information: The past decade witnessed wide swings in commodity prices, which has spurred renewed interest in non-fuel commodities. In 2008 Ben Bernanke, then chairman of the US Federal Reserve, identified commodity prices as one of the main “outstanding issues in the analysis of inflation”. However, interpreting commodity price cycles and providing factor attribution is still an unsolved puzzle. Our project strives to shed some light on these issues. We plan to examine commodity price forecasting models, where predictors include fundamental, macroeconomic, and financial variables. We aim to systematically compare a large battery of different statistical models, where we also address model uncertainty. In comparing the competing models, we evaluate the forecast performance not only in terms of traditional measures but also in terms of new measures, including, e.g., indicators that assess whether the direction of the price change was correctly forecasted. Our main objective is to find out whether the quality of commodity price forecasts depends on the state of the economy (e.g., are commodity price predictions better in turbulent or in calm periods) and what variables are the key players in explaining different commodity classes in different states of the economy.

Austria's Competitiveness and its Determinants

Principal Investigator: Klaus Weyerstrass
Project Team: Jan Kluge, Sarah Lappöhn, Alexander Schnabl, Martin Wagner
Project Duration: Jan 2018 – Dec 2019
Funding: OeNB - Jubiläumsfonds Project No. 17686

Project Information: Austria ranks 18th (out of 137) in the most recent World Competitiveness Report. But despite of this respectable position, this observation gives rise to important research questions concerning the multifaceted or multidimensional concept of competitiveness of the Austrian economy. We investigate these issues by zooming in on several key aspects with a corresponding mix of methods. First, we analyze and decompose total factor and labor productivity using panel econometric methods, i.e. we consider the main factor shifting the production possibility frontier. Second, we perform stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) to assess the distance of the Austrian economy, respectively its sectors, to the international productivity frontier; with a particular focus on identifying the determinants of inefficiencies. Third, data envelopment analysis (DEA) will be used to assess (in-)efficiencies also in broader terms in a multi-output setting that allows to include, e.g., also aspects like environmental quality, for a broader perspective. All analyses are performed for the EU member states – both with aggregate as well as sectorally and regionally disaggregated data – with a particular focus on the main trading partners and neighbors of Austria. The set of findings from these approaches allows to draw comprehensive conclusions concerning the determinants of productivity growth and (in-)efficiencies and thus identify options to increase competitiveness.

Macro-regional strategies and their links with Cohesion Policy

Principal Investigator: Iain Paterson
Project Team: Daniela Grozea-Helmenstein
Project Duration: 2017 - 2018
Funding: Funding: European Commission, DG Regional And Urban Policy (sub-contract)
Lead Partner: COWI A/S
Project Website:

Project Information: The main features of each macro-region (Baltic, Danube, Adriatic and Ionian, and Alpine) are characterised and analysed using a range of macroeconomic, competitiveness, integration and governance indicators and composite indexes. The study addresses the potential of the macro-regional approach to contribute to the future cohesion policy.

Analysing and Testing of Arbitrage Parities

Principal Investigator: Leopold Sögner
Project Duration: July 2017 - June 2018
Funding: OeNB Jubiläumsfonds Project No. 17053

Unemployment and labour market flows in Austria

Principal Investigator: Helmut Hofer
Project Team: Susanne Forstner, Tamas Papp, Michael Reiter
Project Start: March 2017
Funding: OeNB - Jubiläumsfonds Project No. 17378

FIRSTRUN - Fiscal Rules and Strategies under Externalities and Uncertainties

Principal Investigator: Thomas Davoine
Project Team: Matthias Molnar, Michael Reiter, Karin Schönpflug
Project Duration: 2015 - 2018
Funding: EU Horizon 2020
Project Website:
Twitter: @ProjectFirstrun
Publication 1: Cross-country fiscal policy spillovers and capital-skill complementarity in currency unions (Working Paper by Thomas Davoine and Matthias Molnar in the IHS Economics Series)
Publication 2: Population aging, pensions and cross-country spillovers in currency unions (Research Report by Thomas Davoine)

Project Information: FIRSTRUN is a multinational research project that aims to investigate fiscal policy coordination in the EU, to assess the coherence of the recent reforms in the economic governance framework, and to identify reforms to fill possible gaps in the current EU governance framework. The IHS team will develop a multi-country overlapping-generations model to quantify cross-country spillover effects from fiscal policy and to quantify the long-run gains from fiscal policy coordination.

TAXUD Completed Projects

The Impact of Taxes on the Competitiveness of European Tourism

Project Duration: December 2016 – October 2017
Consortium: PwC (lead), IHS (Coordinator)
Final report:The Impact of Taxes on the Competitiveness of European Tourism

Aggressive tax planning indicators

Project Duration: December 2015 – September 2017
Consortium: IHS (lead), CPB, Dondena
Final report: Aggressive tax planning indicators (pdf)

Reform of Rules on EU VAT Rates

Project Duration: May 2016 - June 2017
Consortium: PwC (lead), CASE, IEB, Law Square, IHS (coordinator)

Effectiveness of tax incentives for venture capital and business angels to foster the investment of SMEs and start-ups

Project Duration: December 2015 – September 2017
Consortium: PwC (lead), CASE, IHS
Final report:Effectiveness of tax incentives for venture capital and business angels to foster the investment of SMEs and start-ups (pdf)

Study and Reports on the VAT Gap in the EU-28 Member States

Project Duration: December 2015 – September 2017
Consortium: CASE (lead), IHS (coordinator)
Final report 2016:Study and Reports on the VAT Gap in the EU-28 Member States (pdf)
Final report 2017:Final report on Study and Reports on the VAT Gap in the EU-28 Member States (pdf)

Literature review on taxation, entrepreneurship & collaborative economy

Project Duration: June 2016 - June 2017
Consortium: DONDENA (lead), CASE, IEB, IHS (coordinator), PwC
Final report: Literature review on taxation, entrepreneurship and collaborative economy (pdf)