puje (Copyright)  Energie Silhouette Kontur
Press Release, 20 May 2016

DIW Berlin conducted two studies on developments in energy supply – private utilities no more efficient than public utilities – consolidation in drinking water sector offers little benefit More and more cities and municipalities in Germany are once again taking the electricity, gas, ... more

Robby Böhme (Copyright)  Braunkohlekraftwerk Kraftwerk Braunkohlekraftwerke
Interview, 20 May 2016

Ms. Cullmann, in recent years many communities have been reacquiring previously privatized shares in energy companies. Does this point to a trend toward remunicipalization? We have created a new microdata set of German energy companies in order to analyze this question for the first time in Germany ... more

DIW Berlin (Copyright)  B ro Arbeitsplatz
Report, 12 May 2016

Since the 1980s, in West Germany has been a substantial decline in the number of people of working age who are not in paid employment. Accordingly, the share of 18- to 67-year-olds without a job has also fallen. This increase in employment figures primarily benefited those in marginal employment or ... more

HaBe (Copyright)  Arbeit Beruf Arbeit
Interview, 11 May 2016

Professor Wagner, in the 1980s, sociologist Ulrich Beck posited in his book Risikogesellschaft (published in English as “Risk Society” in 1992) that working conditions would become increasingly complex. Employment subject to mandatory social security contributions would decline and ... more

Ulrike Hammerich (Copyright)  Puzzle Puzzel Puzzlespiel
Press Release, 06 May 2016

Correction to the press release from May 6, 2016 Please note: The original version of Wochenbericht 18, which compares the decline of the middle class in Germany and with that of the United States, contained a calculation error that came about while adjusting standard German reference ... more

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by Astrid Cullmann, Maria Nieswand, Stefan Seifert, Caroline Stiel, in DIW Economic Bulletin

In the 1990s, a number of municipalities started privatizing their energy utilities; in recent years, there has been an intensive debate about whether a paradigm shift has taken place since then. Cities and municipalities have considered putting the energy, water, gas and heat supply back into the hands of public companies; Berlin and Hamburg are two prominent examples. But is there really an overarching trend toward (re)municipalization? According to the present study, which evaluates newly available microdata from official statistics, there is no evidence of a comprehensive (re)municipalization. The increase in public enterprises appears to have more to do with general restructuring in the energy sector, and has in fact been less pronounced than has growth in the private sector.

by Astrid Cullmann, Maria Nieswand, Stefan Seifert, Caroline Stiel, in DIW Economic Bulletin

The increase in municipal economic activity in the utilities sector frequently comes under scrutiny. It is presumed that public utilities have less incentive to provide efficient service than private companies. This could result in excessive costs and prices for end users. New microdata on German energy supply companies allow to conduct an empirical analysis for the whole of Germany for the first time. The findings indicate that there is no difference in efficiency between public and private utilities. This applies to both the competitively structured electricity retail sector and regulated electricity distribution sector. General restructuring in the energy sector such as the increased competitive pressure or the introduction of a more stringent regulatory regime have led to changes in the efficiency of all energy supply companies. The dichotomy between public and private utilities that has been suggested in the (re)municipalization debate therefore appears to be exaggerated.

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