Firm Dynamics and Employment Outcomes

In a market economy, firm foundations and closures are important drivers of resource (re)allocation, structural change, and economic development which is particularly important with respect to the economic transformation of East Germany from a state-directed to a market economy. At the same time, job displacement coming along with structural change may have serious consequences for affected employees, such as unemployment, earnings losses, or lower job quality in a new job. This research group uses microeconometric methods to analyze foundation, evolution, and failure of firms, the amount and quality of jobs created by new firms and the consequences of firm closures for employees, in particular in terms of labor market outcomes such as employment and wages.

Research Cluster
Productivity and Innovation

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Dr Daniel Fackler
Dr Daniel Fackler
Mitglied - Department Structural Change and Productivity
Send Message +49 345 7753-862

EXTERNAL FUNDING

01.2020 ‐ 12.2023

The Rise of Populist Parties in Europe: The Dark Side of Globalization and Technological Change?

VolkswagenStiftung

Globalisation may have increased prosperity in general, but has also led to unemployment, wage inequality, outward migration and, thus, ageing populations in many European regions. This project examines whether these economic burdens lead to votes for populist parties.

See project's webpage

Professor Dr Steffen Müller

01.2019 ‐ 12.2021

MICROPROD („Raising EU Productivity: Lessons from Improved Micro Data“)

European Commission

The goal of MICROPROD is to contribute to a greater understanding of the challenges brought about in Europe by the fourth industrial revolution and the associated ‘productivity puzzle’ in a context of globalisation and digitisation, and to provide alternative policy options to better address these challenges.

IWH project page

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 764810.

Professor Dr Steffen Müller

07.2018 ‐ 12.2020

Firm Wage Differentials in Imperfect Labour Markets: The Role of Market Power and Industrial Relations in Rent Splitting between Workers and Firms

German Research Foundation (DFG)

The main purpose of this proposal is to grasp a firmer understanding of how employment rents are split between workers and employers in imperfect labour markets and how labour market institutions, such as unions and works councils, influence the distribution of rents. In that it not only promises new insights into the wage formation process and the likely consequences of important labour market trends like falling unionisation and worker codetermination, but also promises to inform important public policy debates, such as which rights should be granted to organised labour.

Professor Dr Steffen Müller

02.2019 ‐ 09.2019

Evaluation of the IAB Establishment Panel 2018 and Preparation of a Results Report for West and East Germany

Final report: Fehlende Fachkräfte in Deutschland – Unterschiede in den Betrieben und mögliche Erklärungsfaktoren: Ergebnisse aus dem IAB-Betriebspanel 2018. IAB-Forschungsbericht 10/2019. (in German, English abstract available)

Dr Eva Dettmann

04.2016 ‐ 03.2019

Wage and Employment Effects of Bankruptcies

German Research Foundation (DFG)

The project analyzes the process and the consequences of firm failure. For the first time, evidence on the consequences of small firms’ bankruptcy on employees’ earnings and wages is provided. The project e.g. shows that employees of small firms are more likely to see their employer failing but, at the same time, face smaller earnings and wage losses than employees displaced from larger firms. Check the below research articles for further insights.

Overview of project results (in German)     Project website

Dr Daniel Fackler
Professor Dr Steffen Müller
Dr Jens Stegmaier

01.2018 ‐ 12.2018

Evaluation of the IAB Establishment Panel 2017 and Preparation of a Results Report for West and East Germany

Final report: Lohnunterschiede zwischen Betrieben in Ost- und Westdeutschland: Ausmaß und mögliche Erklärungsfaktoren. Ergebnisse aus dem IAB-Betriebspanel 2017. IAB-Forschungsbericht 6/2018. (in German, English abstract available)

Professor Dr Steffen Müller

01.2017 ‐ 09.2017

Evaluation of the IAB Establishment Panel 2016 and Preparation of a Results Report for West and East Germany

Final report: Produktivitätsunterschiede zwischen West- und Ostdeutschland und mögliche Erklärungsfaktoren. Ergebnisse aus dem IAB-Betriebspanel 2016. IAB-Forschungsbericht 16/2017. (in German, English abstract available)

Professor Dr Steffen Müller

Refereed Publications

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Birds, Birds, Birds: Co-worker Similarity, Workplace Diversity and Job Switches

Boris Hirsch Elke J. Jahn Thomas Zwick

in: British Journal of Industrial Relations, forthcoming

Abstract

We investigate how the demographic composition of the workforce along the sex, nationality, education, age and tenure dimensions affects job switches. Fitting duration models for workers’ job‐to‐job turnover rate that control for workplace fixed effects in a representative sample of large manufacturing plants in Germany during 1975–2016, we find that larger co‐worker similarity in all five dimensions substantially depresses job‐to‐job moves, whereas workplace diversity is of limited importance. In line with conventional wisdom, which has that birds of a feather flock together, our interpretation of the results is that workers prefer having co‐workers of their kind and place less value on diverse workplaces.

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

Boris Hirsch Steffen Müller

in: ILR Review, No. 5, 2020

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Does Extended Unemployment Benefit Duration Ameliorate the Negative Employment Effects of Job Loss?

Daniel Fackler Jens Stegmaier Eva Weigt

in: Labour Economics, 2019

Abstract

We study the effect of job displacement due to bankruptcies on earnings and employment prospects of displaced workers and analyse whether extended potential unemployment benefit duration (PBD) ameliorates the negative consequences of job loss. Using German administrative linked employer-employee data, we find that job loss has long-lasting negative effects on earnings and employment. Displaced workers also more often end up in irregular employment relationships (part-time, marginal part-time employment, and temporary agency work) than their non-displaced counterparts. Applying a regression discontinuity approach that exploits a three months PBD extension at the age threshold of 50 we find hardly any effects of longer PBD on labour market outcomes of displaced workers.

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Who Buffers Income Losses after Job Displacement? The Role of Alternative Income Sources, the Family, and the State

Daniel Fackler Eva Weigt

in: LABOUR, No. 3, 2020

Abstract

Using survey data from the German Socio‐Economic Panel (SOEP), this paper analyses the extent to which alternative income sources, reactions within the household context, and redistribution by the state attenuate earnings losses after job displacement. Applying propensity score matching and fixed effects estimations, we find that income from self‐employment reduces the earnings gap only slightly and severance payments buffer losses in the short run. On the household level, we find little evidence for an added worker effect whereas redistribution by the state within the tax and transfer system mitigates income losses substantially.

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Why Is there Resistance to Works Councils In Germany? An Economic Perspective

Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: Economic and Industrial Democracy, No. 3, 2020

Abstract

Recent empirical research generally finds evidence of positive economic effects for 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 about works councils. On the basis of an in-depth literature analysis, this article shows that beyond the generally positive findings, there are important heterogeneities in the impact of works councils. The authors 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’ organization and have even gained in importance within their organizations in recent years. The authors also discuss the role of deviations from profit-maximizing behavior like risk aversion, short-term profit-maximization and other non-pecuniary motives, as possible reasons for employer resistance.

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Working Papers

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Robot Adoption at German Plants

Liuchun Deng Verena Plümpe Jens Stegmaier

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 19, 2020

Abstract

Using a newly collected dataset with plant-level information of robot use from 2014 to 2018, we provide the first microscopic portrait of robotisation in Germany and study the potential determinants of robot adoption. Our descriptive analysis uncovers five stylised facts concerning both extensive and, perhaps more importantly, intensive margin of plant-level robot use: (1) Robot use is relatively rare with only 1.55% German plants using robots in 2018. (2) The robot distribution is highly skewed. (3) New robot adopters contribute substantially to the recent robotisation. (4) Robot users are exceptional along several dimensions of plant-level characteristics. (5) Heterogeneity in robot types matters. Our regression results further suggest that plant size, low-skilled labour intensity, and exporter status all have strong and positive effect on future probability of robot adoption. However, controlling for plant size, we find that plant-level productivity has no, if not negative, impact on robot adoption.

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Worker Participation in Decision-making, Worker Sorting, and Firm Performance

Steffen Müller Georg Neuschäffer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 11, 2020

Abstract

Worker participation in decision-making is often associated with high-wage and high-productivity firm strategies. Using linked-employer-employee data for Germany and worker fixed effects from a two-way fixed effects model of wages capturing observed and unobserved worker quality, we find that establishments with formal worker participation via works councils indeed employ higher-quality workers. We show that worker quality is already higher in plants before council introduction and further increases after the introduction. Importantly, we corroborate previous studies by showing positive productivity and profitability effects even after taking into account worker sorting.

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Does Working at a Start-Up Pay Off?

Daniel Fackler Lisa Hölscher Claus Schnabel Antje Weyh

in: IZA Institute of Labor Economics - Discussion Paper Series, No. 13033, 2020

Abstract

Using representative linked employer-employee data for Germany, this paper analyzes short- and long-run differences in labor market performance of workers joining startups instead of incumbent firms. Applying entropy balancing and following individuals over ten years, we find huge and long-lasting drawbacks from entering a start-up in terms of wages, yearly income, and (un)employment. These disadvantages hold for all groups of workers and types of start-ups analyzed. Although our analysis of different subsequent career paths highlights important heterogeneities, it does not reveal any strategy through which workers joining start-ups can catch up with the income of similar workers entering incumbent firms.

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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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Identifying Bankruptcies in German Social Security Data

Daniel Fackler Eva Hank Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: FDZ-Methodenreport, No. 10, 2017

Abstract

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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