Selected Projects

Pension System Design and the Intergenerational Allocation of Long-Run Risk

Principal Investigator: Michael Reiter
Project Duration: Jan 2019 – Dec 2020
Funding: OenB Jubiläumsfonds Project No. 17815

Project Information: Our objective is to study the optimal design of a public pension system, taking into account the long-run risks that households face. Our project should make four contributions. First, we will identify empirically the long-run risks that are most important for life-cycle savings decisions and for pension design, with a focus on European data. Second, we develop a model of overlapping generations that allows to study the effect of this risk on the working of the pension system, and on the intergenerational distribution of consumption. Third, we study the optimal design of a pension system in such an environment, analyzing some of the reforms of the social security system that have been proposed in Europe and in North America. Fourth, we adapt this model to account for the specificities of the Austrian pension system, to study how the theoretical improvements can be implemented in a realistic setting.

Towards a Micro-Funded Theory of Monetary Policy

Principal Investigator: Michael Reiter
Project Team: Leopold Zessner-Spitzenberg
Project Duration: Oct 2018 – Sept 2021
Funding: FWF Project

Project Information: The project deals with the basic economic mechanisms determining how monetary policy affects the economy, in particular how monetary policy affects private investment. It seems that in reality investment reacts much less to changes in the interest rate than one would expect from theory. We investigate some potential ways to reconcile the theory with the empirical results, in particular we look at frictions in labor markets as well as frictions in financial markets.

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.

Evaluation of the "Zentrale Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand" (ZIM)

Principal Investigator: KMU Forschung Austria: Peter Kaufmann, IHS: Richard Sellner
Project Team: Peter Kaufmann, Benjamin Bittschi (IHS), Heiner Depner, Iris Fischl, Elisabeth Nindl, Sascha Ruhland, Richard Sellner (IHS), Tim Vollborth, Julia Wolff von der Sahl
Project Duration: Sept 2018 – May 2019
Funding: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Germany)

Der Einfluss der EU-Arbeitsmarktöffnung auf die berufliche Positionierung der ausländischen Arbeitskräfte

Principal Investigator: Helmut Hofer
Project Team: Helmut Hofer, Raphaela Hyee
Project Duration: March 2018 – January 2019
Funding: Framework Contract with the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection

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