Structural Change and Productivity

The department of structural change and productivity analyses dynamics of structural change driven, for instance, by technological progress or rearrangements in the institutional framework. Structural change causes prosperity and demise of regions, industries, and firms, and we use microeconometric methods to empirically assess these effects.

The focus is on productivity, innovation, and labour market outcomes such as employment, wages, or educational decisions. We devote special attention to the transformation process of the East German regions, initiated by the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the German unification. The Research Clusters "Markets and the State: Transforming Institutions" and "Productivity and Innovation" build the framework for our research agenda and the corresponding policy advice.

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Professor Dr Steffen Müller
Professor Dr Steffen Müller
Leiter - Department Structural Change and Productivity
Send Message +49 345 7753-708

Refereed Publications


On the Simultaneity Bias in the Relationship Between Risk Attitudes, Entry into Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Survival

Matthias Brachert Walter Hyll Mirko Titze

in: Applied Economics Letters , No. 7, 2017


We consider the simultaneity bias when examining the effect of individual risk attitudes on entrepreneurship. We demonstrate that entry into self-employment is related to changes in risk attitudes. We further show that these changes are correlated with the probability to remain in entrepreneurship.

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Gender Wage Discrimination: Does the Extent of Competition in Labor Markets Explain why Female Workers are Paid Less than Men?

Boris Hirsch

in: IZA World of Labor , No. 310, 2016


There are pronounced and persistent wage differences between men and women in all parts of the world. A significant element of these wage disparities can be attributed to differences in worker and workplace characteristics, which are likely to mirror differences in worker productivity. However, a large part of these differences remains unexplained, and it is common to attribute them to discrimination by the employer that is rooted in prejudice against female workers. Yet recent empirical evidence suggests that, to a large extent, the gaps reflect “monopsonistic” wage discrimination—that is, employers exploiting their wage-setting power over women—rather than any sort of prejudice.

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Paternal Unemployment During Childhood: Causal Effects on Youth Worklessness and Educational Attainment

Regina T. Riphahn Steffen Müller Caroline Schwientek

in: Oxford Economic Papers , No. 1, 2017

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Support for Public Research Spin-offs by the Parent Organizations and the Speed of Commercialization

Viktor Slavtchev D. Göktepe-Hultén

in: The Journal of Technology Transfer , No. 6, 2016


We empirically analyze whether support by the parent organization in the early (nascent and seed) stage speeds up the process of commercialization and helps spin-offs from public research organizations generate first revenues sooner. To identify the impact of support by the parent organization, we apply multivariate regression techniques as well as an instrumental variable approach. Our results show that support in the early stage by the parent organization can speed up commercialization. Moreover, we identify two distinct channels—the help in developing a business plan and in acquiring external capital—through which support by the parent organization can enable spin-offs to generate first revenues sooner.

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Mapping Potentials for Input-Output Based Innovation Flows in Industrial Clusters – An Application to Germany

Mirko Titze Matthias Brachert Hans-Ulrich Brautzsch

in: Economic Systems Research , No. 4, 2016

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Working Papers


Identifying the Effects of Place-based Policies – Causal Evidence from Germany

Eva Dettmann Matthias Brachert Mirko Titze

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 18, 2016


The German government provides discretionary investment grants to structurally weak regions to reduce regional disparities. We use a regression discontinuity design that exploits an exogenous discrete jump in the probability of receiving investment grants to identify the causal effects of the investment grant on regional outcomes. We find positive effects for regional gross value-added and productivity growth, but no effects for employment and gross wage growth.

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Losing Work, Moving Away? Regional Mobility After Job Loss

Daniel Fackler Lisa Rippe

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 26, 2016


Using German survey data, we investigate the relationship between involuntary job loss and regional mobility. Our results show that job loss has a strong positive effect on the propensity to relocate. We also analyze whether the high and persistent earnings losses of displaced workers can in part be explained by limited regional mobility. Our findings do not support this conjecture as we find substantial long lasting earnings losses for both movers and stayers. In the short run, movers even face slightly higher losses, but the differences between the two groups of displaced workers are never statistically significant. This challenges whether migration is a beneficial strategy in case of involuntary job loss.

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Plant-level Employment Development before Collective Displacements: Comparing Mass Layoffs, Plant Closures, and Bankruptcies

Daniel Fackler Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 27, 2016


To assess to what extent collective job displacements can be regarded as unanticipated exogenous shocks for affected employees, we analyze plant-level employment patterns before bankruptcy, plant closure without bankruptcy, and mass layoff. Utilizing administrative data covering all West German private sector plants, we find no systematic employment reductions prior to mass layoffs, a strong and long-lasting reduction prior to closures, and a much shorter shadow of death preceding bankruptcy. Our analysis of worker flows underlines that bankruptcies seem to struggle for survival while closures follow a shrinking strategy. We conclude that the scope of worker anticipation of upcoming job loss is smallest for mass layoffs and largest for closures without bankruptcy.

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Who Buffers Income Losses After Job Displacement? The Role of Alternative Income Sources, the Family, and the State

Daniel Fackler Eva Hank

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 28, 2016


Using survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), this paper analyses to what extent alternative income sources, reactions within the household context, and redistribution by the state attenuate earnings losses after job displacement. Applying propensity score matching and fixed effects estimations, we find high individual earnings losses after job displacement and only limited convergence. Income from selfemployment slightly reduces the earnings gap and severance payments buffer losses in the short run. On the household level, we find substantial and rather persistent losses in per capita labour income. We do not find that increased labour supply by other household members contributes to the compensation of the income losses. Most importantly, our results show that redistribution within the tax and transfer system substantially mitigates income losses of displaced workers both in the short and the long run whereas other channels contribute only little.

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Social Distress and Economic Integration

Walter Hyll Lutz Schneider

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 21, 2016


We analyze whether social distress from income comparisons affects attitudes towards the integration of economies. Using Germany’s division as natural experiment, we find that East Germans’ feelings of relative deprivation with respect to better-off West Germans led to significantly more support for the upcoming German re-unification.

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