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

since 5/20

Head of IWH Bankruptcy Research

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

since 1/19

Coordinator of MICROPROD

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

Research Interests

  • firm productivity
  • empirical labour economics
  • firm entry and exit dynamics

Steffen Müller is Professor at the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg and head of the Department of Structural Change and Productivity at the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) since 2014. He is coordinator of MICROPROD, CESifo Fellow as well as member of the standing committees for 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. He received his doctoral degree in economics in 2009 and finished his habilitation in 2014. Steffen Müller stayed at the University of California in Davis during his PhD studies and visited the University of California in Berkeley as a Postdoc.

Your contact

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


Selected Publications


Explaining Wage Losses After Job Displacement: Employer Size and Lost Firm Wage Premiums

Daniel Fackler Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: Journal of the European Economic Association, No. 5, 2021


This paper investigates whether wage losses after job displacement are driven by lost firm wage premiums or worker productivity depreciations. We estimate losses in wages and firm wage premiums, the latter being measured as firm effects from a two-way fixed-effects wage decomposition. Using new German administrative data on displacements from small and large employers, we find that wage losses are to a large extent explained by losses in firm wage premiums and that premium losses are largely permanent. We show that losses strongly increase with pre-displacement employer size. This provides an explanation for large and persistent wage losses reported in previous displacement studies typically focusing on large employers, only.

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

Boris Hirsch Steffen Müller

in: ILR Review, No. 5, 2020


The authors use three distinct methods to investigate the influence of industrial relations on firm wage premia in Germany. First, ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions for the firm effects from a two-way fixed-effects decomposition of workers’ wages reveal that average premia are larger in firms bound by collective agreements and in firms with a works council, holding constant firm performance. Next, recentered influence function (RIF) regressions show that premia are less dispersed among covered firms but more dispersed among firms with a works council. Finally, in an Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition, the authors find that decreasing bargaining coverage is the only factor they consider that contributes to the marked rise in premia dispersion over time.

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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


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


Organised Labour, Labour Market Imperfections, and Employer Wage Premia

Sabien Dobbelaer Boris Hirsch Steffen Müller Georg Neuschäffer

in: Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper, No. 81, 2020


This paper examines how collective bargaining through unions and workplace co-determination through works councils shape labour market imperfections and how labourmarket imperfections matter for employer wage premia. Based on representative Germanplant data for the years 1999{2016, we document that labour market imperfections arethe norm rather than the exception. Wage mark-downs, that is wages below the marginalrevenue product of labour rooted in employers' monopsony power, are the most prevalentoutcome. We further nd that both types of organised labour are accompanied by asmaller prevalence and intensity of wage mark-downs whereas the opposite holds for wagemark-ups, that is wages above the marginal revenue product of labour rooted in workers'monopoly power. Finally, we document a close link between our production-based labourmarket imperfection measures and employer wage premia. The prevalence and intensityof wage mark-downs are associated with a smaller level and larger dispersion of premiawhereas wage mark-ups are only accompanied by a higher premium level.

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The East-West German Gap in Revenue Productivity: Just a Tale of Output Prices?

Matthias Mertens Steffen Müller

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 14, 2020


East German manufacturers’ revenue productivity (value-added per worker) is some 8 (25) percent below West German levels, even three decades after German unification. Using firm-product-level data containing information on product quantities and prices, we analyse the role of product specialisation and reject the prominent ‚extended work bench hypothesis‘, stating a specialisation of Eastern firms in the intermediate input production as explanation for these sustained productivity differences. We decompose the East’s revenue productivity disadvantage into Eastern firms selling at lower prices and producing more physical output for given amounts of inputs within ten-digit product industries. This suggests that Eastern firms specialise vertically in simpler product varieties generating less consumer value but being manufactured with less or cheaper inputs. Vertical specialisation, however, does not explain the productivity gap as Eastern firms are physically less productive for given product prices, implying a genuine physical productivity disadvantage of Eastern compared to Western firms.

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Identifying Bankruptcies in German Social Security Data

Daniel Fackler Eva Hank Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: FDZ-Methodenreport, No. 10, 2017


Many empirical studies about firm exits point out that it is important to distinguish between different types of closures, e.g., voluntary and involuntary liquidations. This report describes how exits due to bankruptcies can be identified in the German Establishment History Panel (BHP). In contrast to other closures, bankruptcies can be unambiguously regarded as indica-tion for economic failure and can therefore be interpreted as involuntary exits.

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