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 Institutions
01.2020 ‐ 12.2023
The Rise of Populist Parties in Europe: The Dark Side of Globalization and Technological Change?
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.
01.2019 ‐ 06.2022
MICROPROD („Raising EU Productivity: Lessons from Improved Micro Data“)
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.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 764810.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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)
The Productivity Effect of Temporary Agency Work: Evidence from German Panel Data
in: Economic Journal, No. 562, 2012
This study investigates the effect of temporary agency work on the user firm’s productivity. We hypothesise that using temporary agency work to enhance numerical flexibility and to screen job candidates may increase productivity, whereas temporary workers’ lower firm-specific human capital and spillover effects on the user’s permanent employees may adversely affect productivity. Other than the sparse existing literature on this issue, we exploit a large panel data set and control for time-invariant and time-varying unobserved heterogeneity by using the system GMM estimator. We find a robust hump-shaped effect of the extent of temporary agency work on the user firm’s productivity.
Do Women Benefit from Competitive Markets? Product Market Competition and the Gender Pay Gap in Germany
in: Economics Bulletin, No. 2, 2012
Using a large linked employer–employee dataset for Germany with a direct plant-level measure of product market competition and controlling for job-cell fixed effects, we investigate whether relative wages of women benefit from strong competition. We find that the unexplained gender pay gap is about 2.4 log points lower in West German plants that face strong product market competition than in those experiencing weak competition, whereas no such link shows up for East Germany.
Works Councils and Firm Profits Revisited
in: British Journal of Industrial Relations, No. 1, 2011
As they are employee associations, it is typically presumed that works councils redistribute economic rents from firm owners to workers. And indeed, the empirical literature suggests that German works councils reduce profits. The studies on the profitability effect of works councils mainly use self-reported subjective profit evaluations of managers as the dependent variable. I argue that these are poor measures of real profits. Newly available information on firms' capital stock allows me to revisit the profit effect now using an objective profit measure. When utilizing the subjective measure I find the standard results; with the objective measure, however, the works council effect on profits is positive and significant.
Betriebsräte und betriebliche Produktivität
in: Schmollers Jahrbuch, No. 1, 2011
Employee participation via works councils is at the heart of the industrial relations in Germany. Despite considerable research, there is still no consensus on the effect works councils exert on establishment productivity. I estimate the statistical relationship between works council existence and establishment productivity using the most recent information from the IAB establishment panel and find that works council existence is related with a nine percent higher productivity. Based on the results of earlier studies, it is argued that the productivity effect of works councils exceeds the estimated statistical relationship.
Works Councils and Separations: Voice, Monopoly, and Insurance Effects
in: Industrial Relations, No. 4, 2010
Using a large linked employer–employee data set for Germany, we find that the existence of a works council is associated with a lower separation rate to employment, in particular for workers with low tenure. While works council monopoly effects show up in all specifications, clear voice effects are only visible for low tenured workers. Works councils also reduce separations to nonemployment, and this impact is more pronounced for men. Insurance effects only show up for workers with tenure of more than 2 years. Our results indicate that works councils to some extent represent the interests of a specific clientele.
The Value of Early-Career Skills
in: CESifo Working Paper, No. 10288, 2023
We develop novel measures of early-career skills that are more detailed, comprehensive, and labor-market-relevant than existing skill proxies. We exploit that skill requirements of apprenticeships in Germany are codified in state-approved, nationally standardized apprenticeship plans. These plans provide more than 13,000 different skills and the exact duration of learning each skill. Following workers over their careers in administrative data, we find that cognitive, social, and digital skills acquired during apprenticeship are highly – yet differently – rewarded. We also document rising returns to digital and social skills since the 1990s, with a more moderate increase in returns to cognitive skills.
Oxytocin, Empathy, Altruism and Charitable Giving: Experimental Evidence from Blood Donations
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 4, 2023
We conducted a field experiment in the natural setting of blood donations to test how oxytocin relates to empathy and altruism. We randomly assigned blood donors in the Croatian Institute for Transfusion Medicine to three groups with the aim to induce different levels of empathy by showing a neutral video to the donors from the control group and an emotional to the donors from the first and second treatment groups. In addition to watching the emotional video, donors from the second treatment group are given a gift which relates to the emotional story from the video. We find no effect of our treatment on induced levels of oxytocin. Null effects of our treatments could be explained by the above average baseline levels of oxytocin and inability of our treatments to provoke emotional stimuli in blood donors. Nonetheless, for our empathy measures we find the effect of gift exchange on empathic concerns, but not on perspective taking. After our experimental treatments, we followed the return of our blood donors for a whole year. We find that only variable which consistently predicts return for blood donation in stated period is the number of previous donations. From policy perspective it is an important finding. Especially for hospitals and other blood providers when faced with time and resource constraints.
Do Role Models Matter in Large Classes? New Evidence on Gender Match Effects in Higher Education
in: CESifo Working Paper, No. 10208, 2023
We study whether female students benefit from being taught by female professors, and whether such gender match effects differ by class size. We use administrative records of a German public university, covering all programs and courses between 2006 and 2018. We find that gender match effects on student performance are sizable in smaller classes, but do not exist in larger classes. This difference suggests that direct and frequent interactions between students and professors are important for the emergence of gender match effects. Instead, the mere fact that one's professor is female is not sufficient to increase performance of female students.
Early Child Care and Labor Supply of Lower-SES Mothers: A Randomized Controlled Trial
in: CESifo Working Paper, No. 10178, 2022
We present experimental evidence that enabling access to universal early child care for families with lower socioeconomic status (SES) increases maternal labor supply. Our intervention provides families with customized help for child care applications, resulting in a large increase in enrollment among lower-SES families. The treatment increases lower-SES mothers' full-time employment rates by 9 percentage points (+160%), household income by 10%, and mothers' earnings by 22%. The effect on full-time employment is largely driven by increased care hours provided by child care centers and fathers. Overall, the treatment substantially improves intra-household gender equality in terms of child care duties and earnings.
Organised Labour, Labour Market Imperfections, and Employer Wage Premia
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 20, 2022
This paper examines how collective bargaining through unions and workplace codetermination through works councils shape labour market imperfections and how labour market imperfections matter for employer wage premia. Based on representative German plant data for the years 1999–2016, we document that employer monopsony involving below competitive wages is far more prevalent than the contrary worker monopoly. We further find a smaller prevalence and intensity of employer monopsony when unions or works councils are present and the opposite for worker monopoly. Finally, we document a close link between labour market imperfections and employer wage premia. The presence and intensity of employer monopsony are associated with a lower level and larger dispersion of premia, whereas more intense worker monopoly is accompanied by a higher level only.