Blue Deal: Fiscal and economic effects of the AfD’s economic program

_  Yuri Kofner, junior economist, MIWI – Institute for Market Integration and Economic Policy. Munich, 24 August 2021.

Executive summary

The following MIWI study shows: If the German political party AfD were given government responsibility after the federal election in 2021 and were able to fully implement its tax reform and “Blue Deal” stimulus program, then Germany’s GDP would increase by a staggering 15.2 percent by the end of 2025. This would correspond to an annual GDP growth rate of 3 percent, comparable to Ludwig Erhard’s “economic miracle” of the 1950s and 1960s.

The AfD tax reform would free every citizen from a tax burden of 3,400 euros. And the economic “Blue Deal” of the Alternative for Germany would make every German citizen 6,000 euros richer.


The federal elections will take place in Germany at the end of September 2021. In this context, German research institutes and mainstream media have published several estimations of the potential fiscal and economic effects of the election programs of the main national political parties.

Unfortunately, and in a rather undemocratic form, the election platform of “Alternative für Deutschland (AfD)” was hardly or only superficially considered in these publications. [1] Only the ZEW research centre carried out a limited analysis of the income effects of the AfD’s tax plans after a special request from the TV magazine Kontraste. [2]

For this reason, the MIWI Institute has decided to carry out a comprehensive study on the potential fiscal and economic effects of the AfD federal election program. [3]

Based on, but also in contrast to, US President Roosevelt’s Keynesian New Deal and the EU’s neo-Keynesian “Green Deal”, the AfD calls its economic agenda the “Blue Deal”. [4]

The aim of the “Blue Deal” is to use an ordoliberal approach, i.e. a return to the success principles of the social market economy, to improve Germany’s economic prosperity and international competitiveness. It focuses on lowering taxes, electricity and energy prices, reducing red tape, returning to a stable and healthy monetary framework, creating new free trade initiatives and increasing investments in economic areas that sustainably increase productivity and economic growth: infrastructure, digitization, education, research and development.


The aim and scope of this study is to assess the potential fiscal and economic effects of the AfD Blue Deal election program in the areas of tax reform, economic policy, infrastructure and digitization. In addition, an assessment of the economic effects of the AfD’s stance on the corona policy for the fourth quarter of 2021 was made.

The effects were estimated using descriptive statistics, regression methods, VAR methods and trade gravity simulations, either by the author himself or on the basis of recent publications from leading German and international economic research institutes (e.g. ifo Institute, IW Cologne, IfW Kiel, Bundesbank, OECD, etc.).


Tax reform

The core of the tax reform plan of the AfD election program is a radical simplification of the tax system on the basis of Prof. Dr. Paul Kirchhof’s reform proposal, [5] which includes the abolition of a considerable number of arbitrary taxes on assets such as the coffee and beer tax. This would relieve every citizen by 60 euros annually – a total of almost 5 billion euros annually (0.2 percent of GDP).

The AfD sees private property as an important basis for democratic decision-making and economic prosperity. It is therefore a very important concern of the party to increase the private ownership rate of every German citizen. [6] One of the instruments to achieve this goal is therefore the abolition of property tax and the property transfer tax. This would relieve the real estate market by 27.2 billion (0.9 percent of GDP) and each citizen by 330 euros.

In order to increase consumption by households and companies, the AfD calls for a permanent reduction in the VAT rate from 19 to 15 percent. [7] This would relieve the economy by 37.1 billion euros (1.2 percent of GDP) and each inhabitant by 450 euros per year. [8]

As part of its planned media reform, the AfD wants to replace the over-budgeted public broadcasting “Rundfunk” with a modest basic broadcasting “Grundfunk” that would only cost 10 percent of the current annual budget of over 8 billion euros. [9] Instead of paying almost 100 euros a year for the license fee, the new basic license fee that it replaces would cost every citizen only 9.7 euros per year.

Furthermore, the AfD is planning to lower income tax rates for low-wage earners and the lower middle class, which, according to calculations by the ifo Institute, would free them from a total of 38.4 billion euros (1.2 percent of GDP). [10] This corresponds to an annual per capita relief of 464 euros. The complete abolition of the solidarity surcharge will reduce the tax burden by an additional EUR 0.8 billion or EUR 10 per capita.

With the abolition of trade tax and the reduction of the corporate tax rate from 15 to 10 percent, the alternative wants to considerably relieve small and medium companies for Germany. This will relieve the business environment of 71 billion euros (2.2 percent of GDP) or 857 euros per German citizen. [11], [12]

In the energy sector, the AfD plans to radically relieve the economy of 92.6 billion euros (2.9 percent of GDP) or 1120 euros per capita by abolishing the energy tax, electricity tax, CO2 tax and the EEG surcharge. This would drastically reduce the end customer electricity price for German industry by 47.8 percent and for households by 41.8 percent. [13] Since Germany currently has the highest electricity prices in the world, this in turn would make domestic production or living as competitive as ins Finland or the Czech Republic again.

As the only new tax, the AfD wants to introduce a digital tax of 3 percent based on the market country principle on sales from online advertising, the sale of user data and the provision of online marketplaces. [14] According to simulations by the ifo Institute, this tax would generate a modest government revenue of EUR 0.5 billion and only burden each citizen by EUR 6. [15]

Excluded from the calculations of the MIWI Institute are the German revenues (charges) from the sale of emissions trading certificates amounting to an average of 1.6 billion euros per year. Although the AfD officially wants to abolish all forms of CO2 pricing, there are conceptual discussions within the party about participation in a global CO2 emissions trading system, but only if the world’s most important carbon dioxide emitters such as China, USA, India and Russia would also participate. [16]

Overall, the AfD’s tax plans would free the German economy from a cumulative tax burden of over 279 billion euros, which corresponds to 8.6 percent of the gross domestic product. These liberalization measures would relieve every German citizen by almost 3,400 euros annually.

Assuming a rather conservative fiscal multiplier of 0.7, [17] this tax cut could increase German GDP by 6 percent by 2025 (195 billion euros in added value), which would add almost 2360 euros to every German.

Even with a rather conservative refinancing rate of 0.3 [18], the newly created budget deficit (not counting the EEG surcharge) would actually amount to 165 and not 279 billion euros.

Economic policy

As with the planned tax reform, the AfD’s economic program aims to liberalize markets, trade and production, especially by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while increasing state investments in research and development (R&D), education, infrastructure and digitization, ergo, those areas that sustainably increase economic growth and productivity.

As already indicated above, according to the AfD, German burdens and expenses for “climate protection” should be reduced to a minimum: global emissions trading can be permitted if the main emitters participate; and, based on the idea that adaptation to climate change is more effective than mitigation efforts, more emphasis should be placed on civil protection. Moreover, the potential positive effects of global warming should be exploited. [19]

Reducing bureaucracy, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, is an essential aspect of the AfD’s economic policy program. The proposed measures include: simplifying and accelerating business start-ups (from 9 to 5 work steps and from 8 to 3 working days), abolition of certain notarial obligations for start-ups, standardization of thresholds for SMEs, expansion of small business regulations, reduction of retention periods for SMEs, abolition of paper receipts, introducing a Corona-moratorium on new bureaucracy, abolition of the German and (planned) EU supply chain laws [20] as well as a complete return of national sovereignty over business regulatory competencies.

The effects of these qualitative de-bureaucratisation measures can be quantified with the help of empirical results of a regression analysis by Adepoju U. (2017). [21] If the AfD’s deregulation efforts as an improvement in Germany in the World Bank indicators “Starting a business”, “Dealing with construction permits” and “Regulatory quality” were to be improved to the average level of the OECD high-income countries, this would increase domestic GDP by 0,4 percent (13.2 billion euros) and make every citizen 160 euros richer.

Of course, digitization is seen as an essential component in reducing administrative visits. The planned measures and their likely effects in this regard are analysed further below in this study.

Another important goal of the AfD party is to increase total German investments in education, research and development, among other things, through: higher state investments in the MINT research fields (e.g. in the nuclear sciences); a return to research freedom; an amendment to the Research Allowance Act (FZulG) from 2019; the introduction in Germany of special economic zones with a special focus on the promotion of innovative R&D activities, as well as by facilitating the (re-) immigration of emigrated German and foreign skilled workers.

If this renewed emphasis on research and development is quantified as an increase in total R&D spending from the current 3.1 percent to 4 percent of GDP (as in South Korea), then this would, firstly, would have to entail an increase in government R&D spending by 9.7 billion euros and, secondly, the mobilization of private R&D efforts by 21.3 billion euros through the above-mentioned deregulations and incentives. According to the empirical results of the DIW [22], this “blue” research funding would increase the German gross domestic product by 0.4 percent or 14.5 billion euros, which would make every citizen 176 euros richer.

Germany’s economic prosperity depends like no other on world trade and international value chains. Almost every third euro in the German economy is generated through exports. [23]

And the EU is without a doubt Germany’s most important trading partner. Contrary to popular opinion, the AfD does not want to build any new trade barriers with its European neighbours. However, the party rightly wants to prevent a further centralization of the EU apparatus in financial, debt, industrial and cultural policy while at the same time maintaining the undisputed historical achievements of European integration: the internal market for trade in goods and services, the free movement of persons, the customs union and free trade agreements with third parties, intergovernmental research and development cooperation, and of course European peace. This would mean negotiations on a reform of the EU towards a new European Economic Community (EEC 2.). [24]

Another demand made by the “alternatives” is the return to normal and stable monetary policy through the exit from the euro and the reintroduction of the Deutsche Mark.

The author’s estimates based on calculations by the DZ-Bank [25] and the Bundesbank [26] show that a return to a positive central bank interest rate would benefit private savers, who are currently losing an average of EUR 34.5 billion a year due to the negative interest rate (net value, ergo offset against “cheaper” loans), but at the same time would significantly impair the debt capacity of the German state, as it currently has to pay 49.2 billion euros less interest per year thanks to the ultra-expansionary monetary policy of the ECB.

Combining these findings with a previous comprehensive Dexit study by the author, which uses in-house cost-benefit analysis and partial equilibrium models as well as out-house trade gravity models, [27] the following estimates can be made:

Through relieving savers from negative interest losses and via the exchange rate effects, i.e. through cheaper imports of intermediate products for the domestic industry, the reintroduction of the national currency would increase German GDP by 1.3 percent (41.4 billion euros) and thus make every German citizen by 500 euros richer.

The liberalization of the EU towards a new EEC 2.0 would relieve the federal government of most of its net transfer payments to the EU budget (multiannual financial framework) and to the Corona Reconstruction Fund (NGEU) amounting to 27.7 billion euros yearly. This freed-up sum could thus be spent domestically or used to reduce national debt.

In addition to maintaining free trade within Europe, the AfD also wants to revive free trade negotiations with other regions of the world. Under the motto “change through trade”, Berlin is to strengthen trade and economic cooperation with potential partners through the EWG 2.0, regardless of the different views on human rights, moral values and political regimes of the potential partners. An earlier meta-study by the author showed that the signing of free trade agreements with the Eurasian Economic Union, the African Union, ASEAN as well as the USA and Mercosur – both of which would have to be their well-known controversies, would increase Germany’s gross domestic product by 4.1 percent (133.4 billion euros). Euros) or 1,600 euros per capita. [28]

Although Germany is (still) is a “rich” country, it already ought to compensate for noticeable capital depletion and increase its sluggish productivity growth. According to estimates by IW Cologne, Germany will have to invest at least 375 billion euros in infrastructure and human capital over the next ten years. [29] This is exactly what the AfD wants to achieve, according to its election program, by increasing government spending on municipal and nationwide “hard” infrastructure (e.g. hospitals, highways, rail lines, etc.), for public transport, especially in rural areas, for education, broadband and social housing. As already called for by the AfD at parliamentary level, [30] this can be done through the establishment of a “Germany Fund”, which was first proposed by IW Cologne. [31] According to their simulations, the additional annual investments of this fund of 37.5 billion euros [32] would increase German GDP by 0.5 on an annual average by 2025 and thus the wealth of every citizen by 212 euros.

The commitment to the creation of a “European Silk Road”, which would connect Western Europe to Eurasia via continental transport and freight corridors, can be seen in the context of the “Blue Deal” as a renewed emphasis on public infrastructure projects. According to general equilibrium and gravitation models from the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), which first proposed this idea, Germany’s participation in this project would cost official Berlin around 9.4 billion euros, i.e. the same amount as its net transfers to the NGEU, but would increase the country’s GDP growth by 0.7 percent (22.8 billion euros), which would make each inhabitant 275 euros richer. [33]

In addition to higher state investments in areas that the AfD believes will increase economic growth and international competitiveness in the long term – infrastructure, health, education, R&D, digitization – the party also wants to slim down the state and return it to its original role: as a fair ordoliberal arbitrator and not as a powerful neo-Keynesian player in the social market economy. [34]

Based on the Kiel subsidy reports [35], the author estimates that various unnecessary, controversial, and market-distorting state aids, such as the BMWi’s purchase premiums for e-cars, can save a total of 7 billion euros per year. If one regards their lifting as a fiscal policy shock, the negative GDP effect could amount to 0.2 percent (5.6 billion euros) or 67 euros per capita.

The acceleration of the digitization of the economy as one of the most important growth drivers of the 21st century is an essential aspect of the Blue Deal. Accordingly, in its election manifesto and according to parliamentary motions, the AfD calls for the following measures, among others: an expansion of public services through e-government; a harmonization of digital standards, models and platforms at state, federal and European level; the elimination of strict GDPR requirements; the creation of a Federal Digital Agency and a data trust for the processing and exchange of big data, [36] and the acceleration of broadband connectivity, especially in the area of ​​”fibre-to-premises” and in rural areas.

The possible economic effects of the implementation of these measures can be quantified with regression analysis based on the DESI panel data and on the basis of research results for the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digitization and Business Location. [37] Accordingly, if Germany were to achieve the same degree of digitization as Austria in the areas of e-government, integration of digital technology and human capital by 2025, as well as Sweden in the areas of connectivity and internet use, then German GDP would be 1.9 percent higher (61, 8 billion euros) or almost 750 euros per capita.

Overall, the AfD’s economic policy program, if implemented, would increase German gross domestic product by almost 300 billion euros or 9.2 percent of GDP by 2025, which would make every German over 3,600 euros richer.

Corona policy

Not implementing the so-called Corona resolutions of the federal government of August 2021, i.e. neither introducing of a fourth lockdown / shutdown in the fourth quarter of 2021, nor an indirect vaccination requirement through the introduction of fee-based tests, would, according to the author’s estimates based on publications by the IW Cologne [38] and the chief economist at Commerzbank [39] avoid additional macroeconomic losses of around 40 billion euros and additional federal spending on corona aid amounting to 29.5 billion euros. [40] That would be tantamount to 1.2 and 0.9 percent of GDP or over 480 and over 350 euros per person.


The MIWI study shows: If the AfD were given government responsibility after the federal election in 2021 and were able to fully implement its tax reform and “Blue Deal” stimulus program, then Germany’s GDP would increase by a staggering 15.2 percent by the end of 2025. This would correspond to an annual GDP growth rate of 3 percent, comparable to Ludwig Erhard’s economic miracle of the 1950s and 1960s.

The AfD tax reform would free every citizen from a tax burden of 3,400 euros. And the economic “blue deal” of the alternative for Germany would make every German citizen 6,000 euros richer.

Indeed, the implementation of this program could increase the budget deficit by 236.2 billion euros. However, this could (partly) be covered by reducing expenditure items in other areas. Conservative estimates for the annual asylum and integration expenditure by the federal and state governments are around 35.6 billion euros; of which up to half could possibly be saved. [41] Defence spending could be cut by a further 5.4 billion euros. [42] And Germany’s TARGET II demands, which totalled over 1 trillion euros by August 2021, could possibly also be used as guarantees for the above-mentioned additional expenditure. [43]


[1] Siehe, z.B.: Kloft M. (2021). Welche Partei sollte ich wählen, um mehr Netto vom Brutto zu haben? T-Online. URL:

[2] Buhlmann F. et al. (2021). Reformvorschläge der Parteien zur Bundestagswahl 2021 – Finanzielle Auswirkungen. ZEW. URL:

[3] AfD (2021). Deutschland. Aber normal. Programm zur Bundestagswahl. URL:

[4] Cotar J. (2021). Wir stellen dem „Green Deal“ einen „Blue Deal“ gegenüber! AfD Kompakt. URL:

[5] Hulverscheidt C. (2011). So radikal stutzt Kirchhof das Steuerrecht. Süddeutsche Zeitung. URL:

[6] Siehe dazu: AfD (2019). Eigentum statt Miete: Interfraktionelles Treffen der baupolitischen Sprecher. AfD Kompakt. URL:

[7] Deutscher Bundestag (2021). AfD fordert Umsatzsteuer-Senkung. Drucksache 19/27204. URL:

[8] Berechnungen des Autors anhand von: Fuest C. et al. (2021). Hat die Mehrwertsteuersenkung den Konsum belebt? ifo Institut. URL:

[9] Paul J. (2019).  Grundfunk. Unsere Reform für einen öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk des 21. Jahrhunderts. AfD. URL:

[10] Berechnungen des Autors anhand von: Dorn F., Fuest C., et al. (2017). Die Beseitigung des Mittelstandsbauchs – Reformoptionen zur Einkommensteuer und ihre fiskalischen Kosten. ifo Institut. URL:

[11] Die Berechnungen zur kompletten Abschaffung des Solidaritätszuschlags und zur Senkung der Körperschaftssteuer basieren auf: Hentze T., Kolev G. (2021). Wirtschaftliche Effekte des BDI-Steuermodells der Zukunft. IW Köln. URL:

[12] Zu den ökonomischen Effekten von Steuerentlastungen für Unternehmen siehe auch: Dorn F. et al. (2021). Wie beeinflussen Steuerentlastungen die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung und das Steueraufkommen? ifo Institut. URL:

[13] Berechnungen des Autors anhand der Strompreisstruktur (Durchschnitt, 2015-2019) nach: Faltlhauser M. (2020). Zahlen und Fakten zur Stromversorgung in Deutschland. Wirtschaftsbeirat Bayern. URL:

[14] Siehe dazu auch: AfD-Fraktion im Bayerischen Landtag (2021). Freiheit in Netz und Medien IX: Digitalwirtschaft fairer besteuern. Drucksache Nr. 18/15791. URL:

[15] Berechnungen des Autors anhand von: ifo Institut (2018).  Die Besteuerung der Digitalwirtschaft. Zu den ökonomischen und fiskalischen Auswirkungen der EU-Digitalsteuer. IHK. URL:

[16] Lünig S. (2021). A critical look at CO2 pricing as part of climate change mitigation efforts. MIWI Institute. URL:

[17] Der Fiskalmultiplikator ist einer der umstrittensten Größen der empirischen Wirtschaftsforschung. Siehe dazu: Gechert S. (2020). Was ist der Fiskalmultiplikator, und warum ist er so kontrovers? Institut für Makrofinanzen. URL: | Durante A. (2021). Reviewing Recent Evidence of the Effect of Taxes on Economic Growth. US Tax Foundation. URL:

[18] Siehe dazu: Truger A. et al. (2010). Alternative Strategien der Budgetkonsolidie-rung in Österreich nach der Rezession. Hans-Böckler-Stiftung. URL: | Sieling C. (2014). „Steuersenkungen finanzieren sich selbst“. URL:

[19] Kofner Y. (2021). German Climate Policy: Economic Criticism of CO2 Pricing. MIWI Institute. URL:

[20] Mannes G. (2021). Lieferkettengesetze von Bund und EU helfen niemanden, schaden aber allen. Drucksache 18/14603. AfD. URL:

[21]Adepoju U. (2017). Ease of Doing Business and Economic Growth. Ottawa University. URL:

[22] Belitz H. et al. (2015). Wirkung von Forschung und Entwicklung auf das Wirtschaftswachstum. DIW. URL:

[23] Flach L. (2021). Außenhandelspolitik: Für robuste Lieferketten und gegen Protektionismus. ifo Institut. URL:

[24] Boehringer P. (2021). A new European Economic Community (EEC) instead of the old EU. MIWI Institute. URL:

[25] Frühauf M. (2020). Historisch niedrige Zinsen kosten Deutschlands Sparer Milliarden. FAZ. URL:

[26] Deutsche Bundesbank (2017). Zur Entwicklung der staatlichen Zinsausgaben in Deutschland und anderen Ländern des Euroraums. URL:

[27]Kofner Y. (2021). Welfare effects of DEXIT: Deutschmark and European Economic Community 2.0. MIWI Institute. URL:

[28] Kofner Y. (2020). Benefits for Germany of a post-COVID EU region-to-region free trade initiative. MIWI Institute. URL:

[29] Beznoska M., Kauder B., Obst T. (2021). Investitionen, Humankapital und Wachstumswirkungen öffentlicher Ausgaben. IW Köln. URL:

[30] AfD-Fraktion im Bayerischen Landtag (2021). Ermöglichung nötiger Investitionen in bayerische Infrastruktur und Humankapital mit einem Deutschlandfonds. Drucksache Nr. 18/17521. URL:

[31] Eine Übersicht dazu: Kofner Y. (2021). Enabling massive infrastructure and human capital investment with a Deutschlandfonds. MIWI Institute. URL:

[32] S.g. „Klimaschutzinvestitionen“ wurden ausgenommen, da diesen, abgesehen von technologie-offener F&E-Förderung, von der AfD als kontraproduktiv eingestuft werden. Siehe dazu auch die Meinung von: Kooths S. (2021). Investitionen in Dekarbonisierung bauen den Kapitalstock um, nicht auf. IfW Kiel (geäußert als private Ansicht). URL:

[33] Heimberger P., Holzner M., Kochnev A. (2018). A ‘European Silk Road’. wiiw. URL:

[34] Kofner Y. (2021). Back to the future: German industrial Ordnungspolitik. MIWI Institute. URL:

[35] Laaser CF, Rosenschon A. (2020). Kieler Subventionsbericht 2020: Subventionen auf dem Vormarsch. IfW Kiel.  Die Schätzungen sind ohne das fiskalische Corona-Konjunkturpaket. URL:

[36] AfD-Fraktion im Bayerischen Landtag (2021).  „Big Data“ bayerischen Unternehmen zugänglicher machen – mit einem Datentreuhänder auf Basis der BIHK. Drucksache Nr. 18/16670. URL:

[37] Eigene Berechnungen anhand von: Accenture (2020). Digitalisierung – Konjunkturmotor in der Krise. BMDW. URL:

[38] Grömling M., Bardt H. (2021). Corona: Vierter Lockdown würde zehn Milliarden Euro kosten. IW Köln. URL:

[39] Krämer J. (2021). Die Kosten der Corona-Beschlüsse. Commerzbank (geäußert als private Ansicht). URL:

[40] Vergleich des Autors mit den Corona-Hilfen während der ersten drei Lockdowns/Shutdowns anhand von: BMWi. (2021). Coronahilfen: Bewilligungen und Auszahlungen in Milliarden Euro. Stand 17.08.2021. URL:

[41] Kofner Y. (2021). Reforming Germany’s migration policy: fairer, more humane, economy-oriented. MIWI Institute. URL:

[42] Kofner J. (2021). Deutschlands Verteidigungspolitik neu ausrichten: agiler, moderner, souveräner. MIWI Institut. URL:

[43] Bagus P. (2021). Solving the Target 2 problem with haircuts and gold. MIWI Institute. URL:

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