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Melinda Fremerey / Simon Gerards Iglesias IW-Report No. 56 3. November 2022 Dependence - What does it mean and where does it exist?

The concept of dependency has been at the center of most recent policy debates. The German economy's dependence on exports, Europe's military dependence on the USA and, not least, the Germans' dependence on Russian gas - dependencies seem omnipresent and at the same time hardly solvable.

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Dependence - What does it mean and where does it exist?
Melinda Fremerey / Simon Gerards Iglesias IW-Report No. 56 3. November 2022

Dependence - What does it mean and where does it exist?

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German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

The concept of dependency has been at the center of most recent policy debates. The German economy's dependence on exports, Europe's military dependence on the USA and, not least, the Germans' dependence on Russian gas - dependencies seem omnipresent and at the same time hardly solvable.

However, dependencies only become a problem when relationships between states are reconfigured, or unforeseen events suddenly disrupt the geoeconomic order. In this study, we try to define different types of dependencies and ask when do they exist and when do they become a problem. Therefore, we will approach the concept of dependency by proposing a broad definition that includes political dependencies in addition to geoeconomic dependencies.  The results show that while Germany's economic dependencies may be relatively small in international comparison, major dependencies can be identified in the area of mineral fuels and raw materials. Moreover, dependency can only unfold its full problematic nature in its absolute dimension. In addition, there are phases in which certain dependencies become problematic because conflicts arise between countries and economic dependencies are used as political weapon. Politically, Germany has placed itself in an intentional dependency on the other EU member states and the USA and faces the necessary challenge of global coordination of the climate protection due to the international interdependence in this area.

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Dependence - What does it mean and where does it exist?
Melinda Fremerey / Simon Gerards Iglesias IW-Report No. 56 3. November 2022

Dependence - What does it mean and where does it exist?

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German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

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