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.
Betriebsräte und andere Formen der betrieblichen Mitarbeitervertretung – Substitute oder Komplemente
in: Industrielle Beziehungen , forthcomingread publication
“Absurdes Ergebnis“ oder wissenschaftlich fundiert? Die Wahl der Konsolidierungsländer
in: List Forum für Wirtschafts- und Finanzpolitik , forthcoming
In summer 2009, the federal state of Germany has implemented a debt brake in its constitution. This new concept also includes consolidation payments to five states. These Länder suffer from fiscal constraints caused by debts higher than average. However, until now, the selection criteria for these five Länder are not really obvious. This article contributes to the recent debate by answering the question whether this choice was first of all politically motivated or primarily based on fiscal indicators. The findings show that the selection of the ‘consolidation Länder’ was a mixture of both. Additionally, the results indicate that a main focus on the debt level is not rationale. Fiscal constraints also depend on the economic strength of a federal state, because indebtedness is often caused by weak economic power. Therefore, the consolidation payments will indeed help to decrease the existing structural debts of the Länder, but they are no guarantee that the states will meet the restrictions of the debt brake after the end of these payments in the year 2019.
Does Administrative Status Matter for Urban Growth? – Evidence from Present and Former County Capitals in East Germany
in: Growth and Change , forthcoming
Public sector activities are often neglected in the economic approaches used to analyze the driving forces behind urban growth. The institutional status of a regional capital is a crucial aspect of public sector activities. This paper reports on a quasi-natural experiment on county towns in East Germany. Since 1990, cities in East Germany have demonstrated remarkable differences in population development. During this same period, many towns have lost their status as a county seat due to several administrative reforms. Using a difference-in-difference approach, the annual population development of former county capitals is compared to population change in towns that have successfully held on to their capital status throughout the observed period. The estimations show that maintaining county capital status has a statistically significant positive effect on annual changes in population. This effect is furthermore increasing over time after the implementation of the respective reforms.
Coming to Work While Sick: An Economic Theory of Presenteeism With an Application to German Data
in: Oxford Economic Papers , forthcoming
Presenteeism, i.e. attending work while sick, is widespread and associated with significant costs. Still, economic analyses of this phenomenon are rare. In a theoretical model, we show that presenteeism arises due to differences between workers in (healthrelated) disutility from workplace attendance. As these differences are unobservable by employers, they set wages that incentivise sick workers to attend work. Using a large representative German data set, we test several hypotheses derived from our model. In line with our predictions, we find that bad health status and stressful working conditions are positively related to presenteeism. Better dismissal protection, captured by higher tenure, is associated with slightly fewer presenteeism days, whereas the role of productivity and skills is inconclusive.
Do Employers Have More Monopsony Power in Slack Labor Markets?
in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review , forthcoming
This article confronts monopsony theory’s predictions regarding workers’ wages with observed wage patterns over the business cycle. Using German administrative data for the years 1985 to 2010 and an estimation framework based on duration models, the authors construct a time series of the labor supply elasticity to the firm and estimate its relationship to the unemployment rate. They find that firms possess more monopsony power during economic downturns. Half of this cyclicality stems from workers’ job separations being less wage driven when unemployment rises, and the other half mirrors that firms find it relatively easier to poach workers. Results show that the cyclicality is more pronounced in tight labor markets with low unemployment, and that the findings are robust to controlling for time-invariant unobserved worker or plant heterogeneity. The authors further document that cyclical changes in workers’ entry wages are of similar magnitude as those predicted under pure monopsonistic wage setting.
Losing Work, Moving Away? Regional Mobility After Job Loss
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.
Plant-level Employment Development before Collective Displacements: Comparing Mass Layoffs, Plant Closures, and Bankruptcies
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.
Who Buffers Income Losses After Job Displacement? The Role of Alternative Income Sources, the Family, and the State
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.
Social Distress and Economic Integration
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.
TV and Entrepreneurship
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 17, 2017
We empirically analyse whether television (TV) can influence entrepreneurial identity and incidence. To identify causal effects, we utilise a quasi-natural experiment setting. During the division of Germany after WWII into West Germany with a free-market economy and the socialistic East Germany with centrally-planned economy, some East German regions had access to West German public TV that – differently from the East German TV – transmitted images, values, attitudes and view of life compatible with the free-market economy principles and supportive of entrepreneurship. We show that during the 40 years of socialistic regime in East Germany entrepreneurship was highly regulated and virtually impossible and that the prevalent formal and informal institutions broke the traditional ties linking entrepreneurship to the characteristics of individuals so that there were hardly any differences in the levels and development of entrepreneurship between East German regions with and without West German TV signal. Using both, regional and individual level data, we show then that, for the period after the Unification in 1990 which made starting an own business in East Germany, possible again, entrepreneurship incidence is higher among the residents of East German regions that had access to West German public TV, indicating that TV can, while transmitting specific images, values, attitudes and view of life, directly impact on the entrepreneurial mindset of individuals. Moreover, we find that young individuals born after 1980 in East German households that had access to West German TV are also more entrepreneurial. These findings point to second-order effects due to inter-personal and inter-generational transmission, a mechanism that can cause persistent differences in the entrepreneurship incidence across (geographically defined) population groups.