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

The ultimate goal of the project is to assess whether economic hardship, caused by forces hitting open economies - typically viewed as being beyond the control of individual voters and national authorities - can explain the recent success of populist and nationalist movements in the EU.

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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How Selective Are Real Wage Cuts? A Micro-analysis Using Linked Employer–Employee Data

Boris Hirsch Thomas Zwick

in: LABOUR: Review of Labour Economics and Industrial Relations, No. 4, 2015

Abstract

Using linked employer–employee panel data for Germany, we investigate whether firms implement real wage reductions in a selective manner. In line with insider–outsider and several strands of efficiency wage theory, we find strong evidence for selective wage cuts with high-productivity workers being spared even when controlling for permanent differences in firms' wage policies. In contrast to some recent contributions stressing fairness considerations, we also find that wage cuts increase wage dispersion among peers rather than narrowing it. Notably, the same selectivity pattern shows up when restricting our analysis to firms covered by collective agreements or having a works council.

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Does the Plant Size–wage Differential Increase with Tenure? Affirming Evidence from German Panel Data

Daniel Fackler Thorsten Schank Claus Schnabel

in: Economics Letters, 2015

Abstract

We show that the major part of the plant size–wage premium in Germany is reflected in different wage growth patterns in plants of different size. This is consistent with the hypothesis that large firms ‘produce’ more skilled workers over time.

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Works Councils and Labour Productivity: Looking beyond the Mean

Steffen Müller

in: British Journal of Industrial Relations, No. 2, 2015

Abstract

After more than 25 years of empirical investigation, the analysis of works council effects on establishment productivity is still an active field of economic research. I present first evidence for works council regression coefficients along the unconditional log labour productivity distribution in Germany. The highest (lowest) coefficients were found at the bottom (top) of the distribution, which suggests that works councils have the most beneficial effects at low levels of productivity. Importantly, coefficients are positive at each productivity level. The results shed light on a classical theoretical argument concerning moderating factors for the productivity effect of employee participation.

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Economic Failure and the Role of Plant Age and Size

Steffen Müller Jens Stegmaier

in: Small Business Economics, No. 3, 2015

Abstract

This paper introduces a large-scale administrative panel data set on corporate bankruptcy in Germany that allows for an econometric analysis of involuntary exits where previous studies mixed voluntary and involuntary exits. Approximately 83 % of all bankruptcies occur in plants with not more than 10 employees, and 61 % of all bankrupt plants are not older than 5 years. The descriptive statistics and regression analysis indicate substantial negative age dependence with respect to bankruptcy risk but confirm negative size dependence for mature plants only. Our results corroborate hypotheses stressing increasing capabilities and positional advantage, both predicting negative age dependence with respect to bankruptcy risk due to productivity improvements. The results are not consistent with the theories explaining age dependence via imprinting or structural inertia.

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Is There Monopsonistic Discrimination against Immigrants?

Boris Hirsch Elke J. Jahn

in: ILR Review, No. 3, 2015

Abstract

The authors investigate immigrants’ and natives’ labor supply to the firm within an estimation approach based on a dynamic monopsony framework. Applying duration models that account for unobserved worker heterogeneity to a large administrative employer–employee data set for Germany, they find that immigrants supply labor less elastically to firms than do natives. Under monopsonistic wage setting, the estimated elasticity differential predicts a 7.7 log points wage penalty for immigrants thereby accounting for the entire unexplained native–immigrant wage differential of 5.8 to 8.2 log points. When further distinguishing immigrant groups differing in their time spent in the German labor market, their immigration cohort, and their age at entry, the authors find that the observed unexplained wage differential is larger for those groups that show a larger elasticity differential relative to natives. These findings not only suggest that search frictions are a likely cause of employers’ more pronounced monopsony power over their immigrant workers but also imply that employers profit from discriminating against immigrants.

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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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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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