25 Years IWH

Professor Dr Steffen Müller

Professor Dr Steffen Müller
Current Position

since 10/14

Head of the Department of Structural Change and Productivity

Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association

since 10/14

Professor of Economics: Productivity and Innovations

Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg

Research Interests

  • applied econometrics
  • empirical labour economics
  • firm entry and exit dynamics

Since October 2014, Steffen Mueller is professor at the University of Magdeburg and head of the Department of Structural Change and Productivity at the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). He is member of the standing committees for education economics, population economics, and social policy of the German Economic Association.

Steffen Müller studied economics at the University of Leipzig. At the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, he worked as a research assistant for Professor Riphahn from 2005 till 2014 and received his doctoral degree in Economics in November 2009. During his PhD studies, Steffen Müller stayed for several months at the University of California in Davis. Following an invitation by David Card, he visited the University of California in Berkeley from September to December 2012. He finished his habilitation in June 2014.

Your contact

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

Publications

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Why Is there Resistance to Works Councils?

Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: Economic and Industrial Democracy , forthcoming

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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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Explaining Wage Losses after Job Displacement: Employer Size and Lost Firm Rents

Daniel Fackler Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 32, 2017

Abstract

Why does job displacement, e.g., following import competition, technological change, or economic downturns, result in permanent wage losses? The job displacement literature is silent on whether wage losses after job displacement are driven by lost firm wage premiums or worker productivity depreciations. We therefore estimate losses in wages and firm wage premiums. Premiums are measured as firm effects from a two-way fixed-effects approach, as described in Abowd, Kramarz, and Margolis (1999). Using German administrative data, we find that wage losses are, on average, fully explained by losses in firm wage premiums and that premium losses are largely permanent. We show that losses in wages and premiums are minor for workers displaced from small plants and strongly increase with pre-displacement firm size, which provides an explanation for the large and persistent wage losses that have been found in previous studies mostly focusing on displacement from large employers.

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Why is there Resistance to Works Councils in Germany? An Economic Perspective

Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 23, 2017

Abstract

Recent empirical research generally finds evidence of positive economic effects of works councils, for example with regard to productivity and – with some limitations – to profits. This makes it necessary to explain why employers’ associations have reservations against works councils. On the basis of an in-depth literature analysis, we show that beyond the generally positive findings, there are important heterogeneities in the impact of works councils. We argue that those groups of employers that tend to benefit little from employee participation in terms of productivity and profits may well be important enough to shape the agenda of their employers’ organisation and even gained in importance within their organisations in recent years. We also discuss the role of deviations from profit-maximising behaviour like risk aversion, short-term profit maximisation, and other non-pecuniary motives, as possible reasons for employer resistance.

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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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