Talking point
The digital structural change in the financial sector
The forces driving digital structural change are complex, and “predatory competition” is certainly an inadequate description of all the effects it is having on established sectors and structures in their entirety. That is why other aspects are making a fundamental contribution to the change. These include the exponentially rising volume of data, the penetration of web-based devices, popular familiarity with the internet, network effects and economies of scale, broadband expansion, the potential for automation and standardisation, the readiness to adapt and the flexibility of established providers, changes in demand and consumption patterns as well as stricter regulatory measures.  [more]
European integration
Stabilisation, solidarity or redistribution? Does the eurozone need a common unemployment insurance scheme – and if so, for what?
The introduction of a common European unemployment insurance scheme would be a conceivable option to increase the eurozone's resistance to severe asymmetric shocks. This would provide relief in the short term to countries facing cyclically induced higher unemployment. In principle, such a solution could function without redistribution between countries, but its practical implementation would be a complex undertaking. One alternative proposal would be a type of insurance for "catastrophic" shocks that only provides financial support in the event of a very strong surge in unemployment. [more]
New growth opportunities for Germany's engineering sector: Technology leadership and outward investment
German engineering firms must prepare to confront several trends over the medium term. The first of these is that a new, bipolar world of engineering markets is emerging. The United States and (once again) China are set to become especially promising centres of growth going forward. Further future trends are, secondly, the gradual shift in product focus towards customised system solutions; thirdly, the growing importance of not purely price-related competitive factors; and fourthly, the reconfiguration of the global division of labour in the engineering sector as the classic distinction between producer countries focusing on standard machinery and others focusing on speciality equipment becomes increasingly untenable. Provided that traditional suppliers to the manufacturing sector manage to spot the new mega-trends in good time, they will be able to build on these to develop promising strategies that enable them to adapt, survive and – ultimately – grow. [more]
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