Investment backlog

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There is an investment backlog if the investor fails to make pending investments .


Private households , companies and the state with its state-owned companies come into question as investors . The investment backlog affects all types of investment, i.e. expansion , replacement or rationalization investments . In the case of companies, investments also include intangible investments ( research and development ). Your business or economic key figure is the research quota (R&D quota). Investment activity is of paramount importance for the economic growth of a country or the company's growth . Company growth is closely linked to investment policy because growth is concretized in new investments; There is also a connection with the depreciation policy via the investments. An investment backlog therefore reveals weaknesses for sustainable growth.

The word investment congestion is more of a metaphor (from “traffic congestion”), because the controversial question of when an investment should be made and can no longer be postponed, but still not made, is difficult to answer. This determination is most likely to be made with the replacement investment. It is due if, for example, a machine is worn out or inoperable and needs to be replaced to avoid operational disruptions or shortages . If this does not happen, there is an investment backlog. In the case of expansion or rationalization investments, however, the investment backlog is more difficult to identify. If expansion investments are not made, demand can no longer be fully met, and shortages occur. Failure to invest in rationalization becomes noticeable through increased maintenance or personnel costs or increasing failure rates . The subtypes of modernization backlog and renovation backlog suggest that possible modernizations are not carried out or that necessary renovations are omitted.

The classic balance sheet theory assumes that it is fundamentally necessary to make investments in the amount of the respective depreciation in order to maintain constant substance maintenance. If the investments are lower, this represents disinvestment . In order to maintain production capability, investments must be made at least as high as the replacement investments. If a disinvestment is not desired, the necessary investments must be made up at a later point in time.


Investment backlogs can be traced back to a lack of investment decisions , an unfavorable investment climate or a lack of or inadequate financing ( internal and external financing ). Financing is often a bottleneck if equity and / or outside capital is not available or is insufficiently available and does not cover capital expenditure . The resulting financial risk inhibits investment activity. Investment decisions are not made because the decision maker is either not aware that a decision is pending or he is still collecting information relevant to the decision. The investment climate affects the general economic conditions ( sales planning and sales risk , economic situation , credit crunch , inventory risk , tax policy , interest rate level ).

Further reasons for investment backlogs can be the legal framework if laws or administrative regulations (e.g. in building law ) that provide for state permission for certain investments ( building permit ) delay or even prevent the investment.

Investment backlog in the private sector

The propensity of companies to invest also depends heavily on the economy. When the recession begins , entrepreneurs tend to postpone planned investments or not to make them at all, and when there are signs of upswing or expansion they even tend to bring forward investments. An increase in the propensity to invest has an expansive effect on national income . Above all, investment backlogs in research and development play a role because they reduce the competitiveness of companies if technological progress is only noticed by the competition. As a result, investment backlogs lead to lower sales volumes , decreasing market shares and hinder the goal of profit maximization . In the long term there is a lack of product innovations .

The company's surplus payments play a central role in the company's valuation. While the intrinsic value method an investment backlog on the lower book values automatically performs the plants to a reduction in the company's value, has the income approach be taken to ensure that the profit is not oversubscribed by a renunciation of necessary investments. A market value / book value ratio that deviates significantly from 1 can be an indication of an investment backlog.

Investment backlog in the state

The state should as part of its economic policy, anti-cyclical investing the state goal have. Investive government spending (e.g. infrastructure , road construction , social housing ) should therefore preferably be undertaken during the recession. With high government debt , however, there are limits to financing and negative primary balances are undesirable, so that government investments do not take place in the context of austerity . The result is ailing or dilapidated infrastructure ( road damage on motorways, federal highways, need for renovation of public facilities, including in the communities). While in 1980 municipal investment in property was almost three times as high as social assistance expenditure , the share of the latter in the administrative budget rose from 13.7% in 1982 to 21.3% in 1995. The increasing social assistance expenditure thus hinders municipal investment in property.

This also applies to the federal government. One example is the construction of the Fehmarn Belt Tunnel , which the Danish Parliament approved on April 28, 2015; a building permit on the German side has not yet been granted. There is an investment backlog for an expansion investment, because the existing Danish permit also means that a German decision can be expected soon. A lack of budget funds is also the reason for the damage to the Leverkusen Rhine Bridge , which has been known since November 2012 and has to be rebuilt.

Between 1996 and 2016, the share of investment expenditure in the German gross domestic product (GDP) fell from 2.5 to only 2.12 percent. By contrast, the member states of the OECD spend an average of more than three percent on investments. Across Germany, the investment backlog is estimated at 1.4 trillion euros. At the municipal level alone, the investment backlog amounted to 158.8 billion euros in 2018. Although it fell to € 138.4 billion in 2019 (including schools € 42.8 billion, roads € 36.1 billion and administration buildings € 14 billion), it remains at a high level. The German railway starts from a backlog of investment of 57 billion euros, of which 50 billion euros in net and 7 billion at railway stations.

Socialist states in particular typically have a high investment backlog. In these central administration economies , the state itself determines the proportion of the gross national product that is used for consumption and thus also the remainder that is to be invested. In order to achieve a relatively high level of consumption, investments must therefore be reduced. The economic policy of the GDR from 1971 onwards (" unity of economic and social policy ") resulted in the share of consumption in national income rising from 71.0% to 78.5% between 1970 and 1987. Correspondingly, the share of net investment in national income used in the country fell from 24.6% to 18.8% in the same period. This led to the deterioration of the state of the infrastructure and to the fact that it was below the international level.

Macroeconomic investment backlog

At the macroeconomic level, from the point of view of balance sheet theory, there can be an investment backlog in a market economy if administered prices are set below market prices ( maximum prices ). Since in this case the production of the corresponding goods and services is no longer profitable, the investment in equipment for the production of these goods is reduced. The existing capacities will continue to be used, but will expire due to a lack of replacement investments. The housing markets are a typical example . In many cases, the rental prices were set artificially low here. The result was a reduction in residential investment, although this was not actually the political goal. According to Peter Bofinger , “economic growth programs” can serve to overcome investment backlogs .

The permanently strong export surplus of the German economy can also be interpreted as a backlog of investments in Germany.

In the centrally planned economy it is different. Here not only prices are set administratively , but also the investment volume of the socialized economy is controlled centrally. Artificially low rents, for example in the GDR , by no means led to a reduction in residential construction investments. However, the state's investment power was relatively low overall, so that investments in the renovation of old buildings, for example, often had to be postponed. An investment backlog can therefore have very different, complex causes.


The investment rate is an indication of the willingness to invest on the part of economic agents. The gross fixed capital formation is compared to the gross domestic product (or national income). In terms of government investment ratios, Ireland led in 2016 with 35.7% , followed by Turkey (29.3%), Norway (25.3%) and the Czech Republic (24.9%). At 20.9%, Germany was just above the EU-28 median of 19.9%. The investment quota also decreased among companies. While the net investment rate was 9.2% in 1992, it has fallen continuously over the years to 2.6% (2017). In 2016, South Korea (4.23%) led the world in research rates, followed by Japan (3.29%), Sweden (3.25%), Austria (3.09%), Germany (2.94%), Denmark ( 2.87%) or USA (2.79%). Countries or companies with continuously lower investment rates will lose touch with international developments in the long term.

Individual evidence

  1. Georg Milbradt / Gernot Nerb / Wolfgang Ochel / Hans-Werner Sinn, The Ifo Business Compass: Numbers - Facts - Background , 2011, p. 14
  2. ^ Karl Hax / Erwin Geldmacher, industrial enterprise and industrial accounting , 1961, p. 9
  3. Reinhard Schneider, Globalization and Prosperity , 2008, p. 44
  4. ^ Wilhelm Schmeisser / Lydia Clausen / Gerfried Hannemann (eds.), Bankcontrolling with key figures , 2009, p. 59
  5. Elfried Peffgen / Werner Vomfelde, Introduction to Economic Policy , 1977, p. 42
  6. ^ Conjuncture and Crisis, Volumes 5–6, 1961, p. 266 ff.
  7. ^ Hermann Hill, The Next Century - A Century of Communes , in: Klaus Lüder (Ed.), State and Administration 50 Years University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, 1997, p. 346
  8. Handelsblatt of December 2, 2018, How the investment backlog paralyzes Germany's infrastructure
  9. Die Welt from June 15, 2018, The 1.4 trillion hole endangers Germany's success
  10. Handelsblatt dated August 27, 2019, investment backlog in cities and municipalities reaches record level
  11. German Institute for Urban Studies from June 12, 2019, KfW Municipal Panel 2019: The municipalities in Germany have backed investment of € 138 billion
  12. Frankfurter Allgemeine of March 4, 2019, 57 billion euros investment backlog
  13. Statistisches Taschenbuch der DDR 1988, Staatsverlag der DDR 1988, pp. 28, 110 and 111
  14. Carsten Brönstrup / Amory Burchard / Susanne Vieth-Entus / Rainer Woratschka: Where is the investment backlog greatest? Germany is in a recession. Public and private investments could help. But where should the money go? , Der Tagesspiegel Online from December 14, 2008
  15. WirtschaftsWoche from May 6, 2015, Stefan Bielmeier, German export surplus slows investment
  16. Austrian Chamber of Commerce , Statistics , November 2018
  17. Federal Statistical Office of November 30, 2018, National Accounts , p. 11
  18. Kleine Zeitung of December 1, 2017, Austria in second place for research quota EU-wide