Flexible utilization of labor strengthens industrial enterprises´ ability to adapt to fluctuations in business - an empirical east-west comparison based on the IAB company panel
Based on an individual data set, this article investigates the question of which conventional methods and new instruments companies use to adapt to fluctuations in business and what distinguishes these companies from other ones which have not implemented such instruments. In particular, the role of the technical equipment as well as the personnel policy and tariff policy are analyzed. An empirical comparison between the East and West German manufacturing industries demonstrates whether East German firms have competitive advantages. While the technological conditions for firms´ flexibility are somewhat less pronounced in East German, the proportion of “standardized“ and flexible employment is nearly the same in the East-West comparison. Differences exist among small, middle-sized and large firms as well as among types of yield. The weak orientation with respect to agreed wages and hours worked as well as the mainly gratuitous reduction of unpaid overtime which can be implemented over the whole year, prove to be an advantage. The investigation is based on a data set from the IAB company panel of manufacturing industries in 2003.