Structural Change and Productivity

The department of structural change and productivity analyses dynamics of structural change driven, for instance, by globalization or technological progress. Structural change causes prosperity and demise of regions, industries, and firms, and we use microeconometric methods to empirically assess these effects. The department staffs the secretariat of the Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet), which is a hub for research and policy analysis on competitiveness and productivity.

Our focus is on productivity, innovation, and labour market outcomes such as employment and wages. 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 "Institutions and Social Norms" 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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Do Start-ups Provide Employment Opportunities for Disadvantaged Workers?

Daniel Fackler Michaela Fuchs Lisa Hölscher Claus Schnabel

in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, forthcoming

Abstract

This article compares the hiring patterns of start-ups and incumbent firms to analyze whether start-ups offer relatively more job opportunities to disadvantaged workers. Using administrative linked employer–employee data for Germany that provide the complete employment biographies of newly hired workers, the authors show that young firms are more likely than incumbents to hire applicants who are older, foreign, or unemployed, or who have unstable employment histories, arrive from outside the labor force, or were affected by a plant closure. Analysis of entry wages shows that penalties for these disadvantaged workers, however, are higher in start-ups than in incumbent firms. Therefore, even if start-ups provide employment opportunities for certain groups of disadvantaged workers, the quality of these jobs in terms of initial remuneration appears to be low.

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Paid Vacation Use: The Role of Works Councils

Laszlo Goerke Sabrina Jeworrek

in: Economic and Industrial Democracy, forthcoming

Abstract

The article investigates the relationship between codetermination at the plant level and paid vacation in Germany. From a legal perspective, works councils have no impact on vacation entitlements, but they can affect their use. Employing data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), the study finds that male employees who work in an establishment, in which a works council exists, take almost two additional days of paid vacation annually, relative to employees in an establishment without such institution. The effect for females is much smaller, if discernible at all. The data suggest that this gender gap might be due to the fact that women exploit vacation entitlements more comprehensively than men already in the absence of a works council.

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Industrial Relations: Worker Codetermination and Collective Wage Bargaining

Steffen Müller Claus Schnabel

in: Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, forthcoming

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Size of Training Firms and Cumulated Long-run Unemployment Exposure – The Role of Firms, Luck, and Ability in Young Workers’ Careers

Steffen Müller Renate Neubäumer

in: International Journal of Manpower, forthcoming

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Financial Literacy and Self-employment

Aida Ćumurović Walter Hyll

in: The Journal of Consumer Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract

In this paper, we study the relationship between financial literacy and self‐employment. We use established financial literacy questions to measure literacy levels. The analysis shows a highly significant and positive correlation between the index and self‐employment. We address the direction of causality by applying instrumental variable techniques based on information about maternal education. We also exploit information on financial support and family background to account for concerns about the exclusion restriction. The results provide support for a positive effect of financial literacy on the probability of being self‐employed. As financial literacy is acquirable, the findings suggest that entrepreneurial activities might be increased by enhancing financial literacy.

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Working Papers

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Labour Market Power and the Distorting Effects of International Trade

Matthias Mertens

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 18, 2018

Abstract

This article examines how trade shocks shape labour market imperfections that create market power in labour markets and prevent an efficient allocation of labour. I develop a framework for measuring such labour market distortions in monetary terms and document large degrees of those distortions in Germany’s manufacturing sector. Import competition can only exert labour market disciplining effects when firms rather than workers have labour market power. Otherwise, export demand and import competition shocks tend to fortify existing distortions by amplifying labour market power structures. This diminishes the gains from trade compared to a model with perfectly competitive labour markets.

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Crowdsourced Innovation: How Community Managers Affect Crowd Activities

Sabrina Jeworrek Lars Hornuf

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 13, 2018

Abstract

In this study, we investigate whether and to what extent community managers in online collaborative communities can stimulate crowd activities through their engagement. Using a novel data set of 22 large online idea crowdsourcing campaigns, we find that active engagement of community managers positively affects crowd activities in an inverted U-shaped manner. Moreover, we evidence that intellectual stimulation by managers increases community participation, while individual consideration of users has no impact on user activities. Finally, the data reveal that community manager activities that require more effort, such as media file uploads instead of simple written comments, have a larger effect on crowd participation.

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The Regional Effects of Professional Sports Franchises – Causal Evidence from Four European Football Leagues

Matthias Brachert

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 10, 2018

Abstract

We use the locational pattern of clubs in four major professional football leagues in Europe to test the causal effect of changes in premier league membership on regional employment and output growth at the NUTS 3 level. We rely on the relegation mode of the classical round-robin tournament in the European model of sport to develop a regression-discontinuity design. The results indicate small and significant negative short-term effects on regional employment and output in the sports-related economic sector when clubs are relegated from the premier division of the respective football league. In addition, we find small negative effects on overall regional employment growth. However, total regional gross value added remains unaffected, indicating that in the main it is the less productive jobs that disappear in the short-term.

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Firm Wage Premia, Industrial Relations, and Rent Sharing in Germany

Boris Hirsch Steffen Müller

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2018

Abstract

This paper investigates the influence of industrial relations on firm wage premia in Germany. OLS regressions for the firm effects from a two-way fixed effects decomposition of workers’ wages by Card, Heining, and Kline (2013) document that average premia are larger in firms bound by collective agreements and in firms with a works council, holding constant firm performance. RIF regressions show that premia are less dispersed among covered firms but more dispersed among firms with a works council. Hence, deunionisation is the only among the suspects investigated that contributes to explaining the marked rise in the premia dispersion over time.

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“The Good News about Bad News”: Feedback about Past Organisational Failure and its Impact on Worker Productivity

Sabrina Jeworrek Vanessa Mertins Michael Vlassopoulos

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 1, 2018

Abstract

Failure in organisations is a very common phenomenon. Little is known about whether past failure affects workers’ subsequent performance. We conduct a field experiment in which we follow up a failed mail campaign to attract new volunteers with a phone campaign pursuing the same goal. We recruit temporary workers to carry out the phone campaign and randomly assign them to either receive or not receive information about the previous failure and measure their performance. We find that informed workers perform better – in terms of both numbers dialed (about 14% improvement) and completed interviews (about 20% improvement) – regardless of whether they had previously worked on the failed mail campaign. Evidence from a second experiment with student volunteers asked to support a campaign to reduce food waste suggests that the mechanism behind our finding relates to contextual inference: Informing workers/volunteers that they are pursuing a goal that is hard to attain seems to add meaning to the work involved, leading them to exert more effort.

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