25 Years IWH

Firm Dynamics and Employment Outcomes

This research group belongs to the IWH Research Cluster Productivity and Innovation. 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

Refereed Publications

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Plant-level Employment Development before Collective Displacements: Comparing Mass Layoffs, Plant Closures and Bankruptcies

Daniel Fackler Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract

This article analyzes the development of employment levels and worker flows before bankruptcies, plant closure without bankruptcies and mass layoffs. Utilizing administrative plant-level data for Germany, we find no systematic employment reductions prior to mass layoffs, a strong and long-lasting reduction prior to closures, and a much shorter shadow of death preceding bankruptcies. Employment reductions in closing plants, in contrast to bankruptcies and mass layoffs, do not come along with increased worker flows. These patterns point to an intended and controlled shrinking strategy for closures without bankruptcy and to an unintended collapse for bankruptcies and mass layoffs.

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

Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: Economic and Industrial Democracy, forthcoming

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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Do Employers Have More Monopsony Power in Slack Labor Markets?

Boris Hirsch Elke J. Jahn Claus Schnabel

in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, No. 3, 2018

Abstract

This article confronts monopsony theory’s predictions regarding workers’ wages with observed wage patterns over the business cycle. Using German administrative data for the years 1985 to 2010 and an estimation framework based on duration models, the authors construct a time series of the labor supply elasticity to the firm and estimate its relationship to the unemployment rate. They find that firms possess more monopsony power during economic downturns. Half of this cyclicality stems from workers’ job separations being less wage driven when unemployment rises, and the other half mirrors that firms find it relatively easier to poach workers. Results show that the cyclicality is more pronounced in tight labor markets with low unemployment, and that the findings are robust to controlling for time-invariant unobserved worker or plant heterogeneity. The authors further document that cyclical changes in workers’ entry wages are of similar magnitude as those predicted under pure monopsonistic wage setting.

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Losing Work, Moving Away? Regional Mobility After Job Loss

Daniel Fackler Lisa Hölscher

in: LABOUR: Review of Labour Economics and Industrial Relations, No. 4, 2017

Abstract

Using German survey data, we investigate the relationship between involuntary job loss and regional mobility. Our results show that job loss has a strong positive effect on the propensity to relocate. We also analyse whether displaced workers who relocate to a different region after job loss are better able to catch up with non-displaced workers in terms of labour market performance than those staying in the same region. Our findings do not support this conjecture as we find substantial long-lasting earnings losses for movers and stayers and even slightly but not significantly higher losses for movers.

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Working Papers

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

Daniel Fackler Eva Hank

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 28, 2016

Abstract

Using survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), this paper analyses to what extent 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 high individual earnings losses after job displacement and only limited convergence. Income from selfemployment slightly reduces the earnings gap and severance payments buffer losses in the short run. On the household level, we find substantial and rather persistent losses in per capita labour income. We do not find that increased labour supply by other household members contributes to the compensation of the income losses. Most importantly, our results show that redistribution within the tax and transfer system substantially mitigates income losses of displaced workers both in the short and the long run whereas other channels contribute only little.

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Plant-level Employment Development before Collective Displacements: Comparing Mass Layoffs, Plant Closures, and Bankruptcies

Daniel Fackler Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 27, 2016

Abstract

To assess to what extent collective job displacements can be regarded as unanticipated exogenous shocks for affected employees, we analyze plant-level employment patterns before bankruptcy, plant closure without bankruptcy, and mass layoff. Utilizing administrative data covering all West German private sector plants, we find no systematic employment reductions prior to mass layoffs, a strong and long-lasting reduction prior to closures, and a much shorter shadow of death preceding bankruptcy. Our analysis of worker flows underlines that bankruptcies seem to struggle for survival while closures follow a shrinking strategy. We conclude that the scope of worker anticipation of upcoming job loss is smallest for mass layoffs and largest for closures without bankruptcy.

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