Regional & Structural Policy

Regional, Industrial, Corporate/ SME

Beyond financial and real estate markets I have worked in regional and structural policy.

In the 1990s, together with the late Ulli Pfeiffer (empirica), I became closely involved in advising the privatization and public asset management agencies Treuhandanstalt and Treuhand-Liegenschaftsgesellschaft, various ministries of the German government and political parties on regional and structural development of East Germany. At the time it was overlooked by (mostly West) German policy makers that the ‘Dutch Disease’ shock that had hit the East warranted a more refined strategy than immediate mass privatization, requiring higher doses of and more long-term public support for the corporations and SMEs in the export base that suffered most from the real exchange rate appreciation and a depleted capital base. Together with the agencies and parts of the political system we pushed back against the one size fits all policy and developed a long-term public asset management and investment strategy for the export base, a support strategy for management buyouts and targeted regional development strategies for selected industrial centers. The implementation of some of this helped to preserve a good part of the industrial base of New States. This is noticeable especially in comparison to many other transition countries that deindustrialized after 1990 and partly dramatically lost both economic structure and population.

I had learned these lessons when in 1990 doing post-graduate work at the German Development Institute on Venezuela, an oil-exporting economy hit by the same ‘Dutch Disease’ shock. At the time we reviewed the industrial adjustment and investment strategy of the country under conditions of external liberalization for then Minister of Economic Development Moses Naim.

Later in the 1990s when working with empirica I performed numerous regional development and asset management advisory projects, mostly on East Germany. Due to the booming mortgage and housing sector work programs I became since only occasionally involved in structural policy. Fascinating was work for the Mexican agency Bancomext, an SME lending guarantor and corporate lender, which overnight during the Great Financial Crisis had rotate in to replace the lending of American and Spanish banks that had suddenly (and opportunistically) stopped. A comparison of Mexico with Greece, which when sudden stop hit in 2010 did not have an agency in place to support the industrial sector and the tourism industry, shows that these public sector backups make the difference between a slow-down and a collapse in lending and economic activity.

Selected project references structural policy (regional, industrial, corporate/SME)

2013“Due Diligence Analysis of Bancomext”, the Mexican export and industrial credit agency (corporate and MSME lender / guarantor)Bancomext Mexico, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau
1992 / 1994“Eine gesamtwirtschaftliche Entwicklungsstrategie fuer die Neuen Bundeslaender (A macroeconomic development strategy for the New German States)”; 1 overview study for all new states and 4 individual studies for the states of Thuringia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Pomerania.Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (East) Germany
1990“Industrial Adjustment Processes under External Economic Liberalization in Venezuela”. Focus on industrial policies to combat Dutch Disease. Post-graduate study.German Development Institute, Ministerio de Fomento Venezuela