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 ClusterProductivity and Innovation
04.2016 ‐ 03.2019
Wage and Employment Effects of Bankruptcies
German Research Foundation (DFG)
Obwohl die Folgen von Insolvenzen für betroffene Arbeitnehmer immer wieder Gegenstand öffentlicher Debatten sind (z.B. infolge der Insolvenz der Drogeriemarktkette Schlecker im Jahr 2012), ist die vorhandene empirische Evidenz dazu eher dürftig. Dies gilt in besonderem Maße für die Folgen von kleinbetrieblichen Insolvenzen, die weitaus häufiger stattfinden als öffentlichkeitswirksame Großinsolvenzen. Ziel dieses Projekts ist es daher, grundlegende Erkenntnisse über Insolvenzen und deren Folgen für betroffene Arbeitnehmer zu gewinnen.
01.2018 ‐ 12.2018
IAB Establishment Panel 2017
Bundesagentur für Arbeit
Do Start-ups Provide Employment Opportunities for Disadvantaged Workers?
in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, forthcoming
This article compares the hiring patterns of start-ups and incumbent firms to analyze whether start-ups offer relatively more job opportunities to disadvantaged workers. Using administrative linked employer–employee data for Germany that provide the complete employment biographies of newly hired workers, the authors show that young firms are more likely than incumbents to hire applicants who are older, foreign, or unemployed, or who have unstable employment histories, arrive from outside the labor force, or were affected by a plant closure. Analysis of entry wages shows that penalties for these disadvantaged workers, however, are higher in start-ups than in incumbent firms. Therefore, even if start-ups provide employment opportunities for certain groups of disadvantaged workers, the quality of these jobs in terms of initial remuneration appears to be low.
Does Extended Unemployment Benefit Duration Ameliorate the Negative Employment Effects of Job Loss?
in: Labour Economics, forthcoming
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.
Size of Training Firms and Cumulated Long-run Unemployment Exposure – The Role of Firms, Luck, and Ability in Young Workers’ Careers
in: International Journal of Manpower, forthcomingread publication
Why Is there Resistance to Works Councils In Germany? An Economic Perspective
in: Economic and Industrial Democracy, forthcoming
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.
Industrial Relations: Worker Codetermination and Collective Wage Bargaining
in: Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, No. 1, 2019
Trade unions and employers’ associations, collective bargaining, and employee representation at the workplace are the cornerstones of industrial relations systems in many developed countries. Germany stands out as a country with powerful works councils and a high coverage rate of collective bargaining agreements, supported by encompassing interest groups of employees and employers and by the state. The German case and the perceived stability of its industrial relations regime have attracted considerable attention among researchers and politicians, which also has to do with the country’s high productivity, comparably few strikes, and relatively minor employment problems. However, in recent years industrial relations in many countries including Germany have come under pressure and the fact that there is no obvious and clearly superior alternative to the current regime of industrial and labour relations may not be sufficient to guarantee the survival of the present system.
Explaining Wage Losses after Job Displacement: Employer Size and Lost Firm Rents
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 32, 2017
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.
Identifying Bankruptcies in German Social Security Data
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.
Who Buffers Income Losses After Job Displacement? The Role of Alternative Income Sources, the Family, and the State
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 28, 2016
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.
Plant-level Employment Development before Collective Displacements: Comparing Mass Layoffs, Plant Closures, and Bankruptcies
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 27, 2016
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.