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

Research Interests

  • firm productivity
  • empirical labour economics
  • economic gap between East and West Germany

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 a Fellow of the Center for Economic Studies (CESifo) and the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) as well as a 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

Publications

Selected Publications

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Industry Mix, Local Labor Markets, and the Incidence of Trade Shocks

Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier Moises Yi

in: Journal of Labor Economics, forthcoming

Abstract

We analyze how skill transferability and the local industry mix affect the adjustment costs of workers hit by a trade shock. Using German administrative data and novel measures of economic distance we construct an index of labor market absorptiveness that captures the degree to which workers from a particular industry are able to reallocate into other jobs. Among manufacturing workers, we find that the earnings loss associated with increased import exposure is much higher for those who live in the least absorptive regions. We conclude that the local industry composition plays an important role in the adjustment processes of workers.

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

Matthias Mertens Steffen Müller

in: Journal of Comparative Economics, No. 3, 2022

Abstract

East German manufacturers’ revenue productivity is substantially below West German levels, even three decades after German unification. Using firm-product-level data with product quantities and prices, we analyze the role of product specialization and show that the prominent “extended work bench hypothesis” cannot explain these sustained productivity differences. Eastern firms specialize in simpler product varieties generating less consumer value and being manufactured with less or cheaper inputs. Yet, such specialization cannot explain the productivity gap because Eastern firms are physically less productive for given product prices. Hence, there is a genuine price-adjusted physical productivity disadvantage of Eastern compared to Western firms.

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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

Abstract

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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Working Papers

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Minimum Wages, Productivity, and Reallocation

Mirja Hälbig Matthias Mertens Steffen Müller

in: IZA Discussion Paper, No. 16160, 2023

Abstract

We study the productivity effect of the German national minimum wage by applying administrative firm data. At the firm level, we confirm positive effects on wages and negative employment effects and document higher productivity even net of output price increases. We find higher wages but no employment effects at the level of aggregate industry × region cells. The minimum wage increased aggregate productivity in manufacturing. We do not find that employment reallocation across firms contributed to these aggregate productivity gains, nor do we find improvements in allocative efficiency. Instead, the productivity gains from the minimum wage result from within-firm productivity improvements only.

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Minimum Wages, Productivity, and Reallocation

Mirja Hälbig Matthias Mertens Steffen Müller

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 8, 2023

Abstract

We study the productivity effect of the German national minimum wage by applying administrative firm data. At the firm level, we confirm positive effects on wages and negative employment effects and document higher productivity even net of output price increases. We find higher wages but no employment effects at the level of aggregate industry × region cells. The minimum wage increased aggregate productivity in manufacturing. We do not find that employment reallocation across firms contributed to these aggregate productivity gains, nor do we find improvements in allocative efficiency. Instead, the productivity gains from the minimum wage result from within-firm productivity improvements only.

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Robots, Occupations, and Worker Age: A Production-unit Analysis of Employment

Liuchun Deng Steffen Müller Verena Plümpe Jens Stegmaier

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 5, 2023

Abstract

We analyse the impact of robot adoption on employment composition using novel micro data on robot use in German manufacturing plants linked with social security records and data on job tasks. Our task-based model predicts more favourable employment effects for the least routine-task intensive occupations and for young workers, with the latter being better at adapting to change. An event-study analysis of robot adoption confirms both predictions. We do not find adverse employment effects for any occupational or age group, but churning among low-skilled workers rises sharply. We conclude that the displacement effect of robots is occupation biased but age neutral, whereas the reinstatement effect is age biased and benefits young workers most.

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