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.

Your contact

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

Refereed Publications

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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

Abstract

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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When the Meaning of Work Has Disappeared: Experimental Evidence on Employees’ Performance and Emotions

Adrian Chadi Sabrina Jeworrek Vanessa Mertins

in: Management Science , No. 6, 2017

Abstract

This experiment tests for a causal relationship between the meaning of work and employees’ motivation to perform well. The study builds on an existing employer–employee relationship, adding realism to the ongoing research of task meaning. Owing to an unexpected project cancelation, we are able to study how varying the information provided about the meaning of previously conducted work — without the use of deception, but still maintaining a high level of control — affects subsequent performance. We observe a strong decline in exerted effort when we inform workers about the meaninglessness of a job already done. Our data also suggests that providing a supplemental alternative meaning perfectly compensates for this negative performance effect. Individual characteristics such as reciprocal inclinations and trust prompt different reactions. The data also show that the meaning of work affects workers’ emotions, but we cannot establish a clear relationship between emotional responses and performance.

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Plant-Based Bioeconomy in Central Germany - Mapping of Actors, Industries and Places

Wilfried Ehrenfeld Frieder Kropfhäußer

in: Technology Analysis & Strategic Management , No. 5, 2017

Abstract

The bioeconomy links industrial and agricultural research and production and is expected to provide growth, particularly in rural areas. However, it is still unclear which companies, research institutes and universities make up the bioeconomy. This makes it difficult to evaluate the policy measures that support the bioeconomy. The aim of this article is to provide an inventory of relevant actors in the three Central German states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. First we take an in-depth look at the different sectors, outline the industries involved, note the location and age of the enterprises and examine the distribution of important European industrial activity classification (NACE) codes. Our results underline the fact that established industry classifications are insufficient in identifying the plant-based bioeconomy population. We also question the overly optimistic statements regarding growth potentials in rural areas and employment potentials in general.

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The Dynamic Effects of Works Councils on Plant Productivity: First Evidence from Panel Data

Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: British Journal of Industrial Relations , No. 2, 2017

Abstract

We estimate dynamic effects of works councils on labour productivity using newly available information from West German establishment panel data. Conditioning on plant fixed effects and control variables, we find negative productivity effects during the first five years after council introduction but a steady and substantial increase in the councils’ productivity effect thereafter. Our findings support a causal interpretation for the positive correlation between council existence and plant productivity that has been frequently reported in previous studies.

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Transferability of Skills across Sectors and Heterogeneous Displacement Costs

Moises Yi Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings , No. 5, 2017

Abstract

We use rich German administrative data to estimate new measures of skill transferability between manufacturing and other sectors. These measures capture the value of workers' human capital when applied in different sectors and are directly related to workers' displacement costs. We estimate these transferability measures using a selection correction model, which addresses workers' endogenous mobility, and a novel selection instrument based on the social network of workers. Our results indicate substantial heterogeneity in how workers can transfer their skills when they move across sectors, which implies heterogeneous displacement costs that depend on the sector to which workers reallocate.

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Working Papers

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

Eva Dettmann Matthias Brachert Mirko Titze

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 18, 2016

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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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