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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Intergenerational Transmission of Unemployment - Evidence for German Sons

M. Mäder Steffen Müller Caroline Schwientek Regina T. Riphahn

in: Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, No. 4, 2015

Abstract

This paper studies the association between the unemployment experience of fathers and their sons. Based on German survey data that cover the last decades we find significant positive correlations. Using instrumental variables estimation and the Gottschalk (1996) method we investigate to what extent fathers' unemployment is causal for offsprings' employment outcomes. In agreement with most of the small international literature we do not find a positive causal effect for intergenerational unemployment transmission. This outcome is robust to alternative data structures and to tests at the intensive and extensive margin of unemployment.

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The Levelling Effect of Product Market Competition on Gender Wage Discrimination

Boris Hirsch Michael Oberfichtner Claus Schnabel

in: IZA Journal of Labor Economics, No. 19, 2014

Abstract

Using linked employer–employee panel data for West Germany that include direct information on the competition faced by plants, we investigate the effect of product market competition on the gender pay gap. Controlling for match fixed effects, we find that intensified competition significantly lowers the unexplained gap in plants with neither collective agreements nor a works council. Conversely, there is no effect in plants with these types of worker codetermination, which are unlikely to have enough discretion to adjust wages in the short run. We also document a larger competition effect in plants with few females in their workforces. Our findings are in line with Beckerian taste-based employer wage discrimination that is limited by competitive forces.

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Do Better Pre-migration Skills Accelerate Immigrants' Wage Assimilation?

Boris Hirsch Elke J. Jahn Ott Toomet Daniela Hochfellner

in: Labour Economics, 2014

Abstract

This paper analyzes wage assimilation of ethnic German immigrants to Germany using unique administrative data that include an administrative estimate of immigrants' expected wage in Germany at the time of migration. We find that a 10% higher wage potential translates into a 1.6% higher wage in Germany when also controlling for educational attainment, thus pointing at partial transferability of pre-migration skills to the host country's labor market. We also document that wage assimilation is significantly accelerated for immigrants with higher wage potentials. Our results are both in line with complementarities between pre-migration skills and host country-specific human capital and a U-shaped pattern of immigrants' job mobility with initial downgrading and subsequent upgrading.

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Lingering Illness or Sudden Death? Pre-exit Employment Developments in German Establishments

Daniel Fackler Claus Schnabel J. Wagner

in: Industrial and Corporate Change, No. 4, 2014

Abstract

Using a large administrative data set for Germany, this article compares employment developments in exiting and surviving establishments. Applying a matching approach, we find a clear “shadow of death” effect reflecting lingering illness: in both West and East Germany establishments shrink dramatically already several years before closure, employment growth rates differ strongly between exiting and surviving establishments, and this difference becomes stronger as exit approaches. Moreover, we provide first evidence that prior to exit the workforce becomes on average more skilled, more female, and older in exiting compared to surviving establishments. These effects are more clearly visible in West than in East Germany.

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What Can We Learn from Bargaining Models about Union Power? The Decline in Union Power in Germany, 1992–2009

Boris Hirsch Claus Schnabel

in: The Manchester School, No. 3, 2014

Abstract

Building on the right-to-manage model of collective bargaining, this paper tries to infer union power from the observed results in wage setting. It derives a time-varying indicator of union strength taking account of taxation, unemployment benefits, and the labour market situation and confronts this indicator with annual data for Germany. The results show that union power did not change much from 1992 to 2002 but fell markedly (by about one-third) from 2002 to 2007 in the aftermath of substantial labour market reforms.

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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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