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)
Does Extended Unemployment Benefit Duration Ameliorate the Negative Employment Effects of Job Loss?
in: Labour Economics, 2019
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.
HIP, RIP, and the Robustness of Empirical Earnings Processes
in: Quantitative Economics, No. 3, 2019
The dispersion of individual returns to experience, often referred to as heterogeneity of income profiles (HIP), is a key parameter in empirical human capital models, in studies of life‐cycle income inequality, and in heterogeneous agent models of life‐cycle labor market dynamics. It is commonly estimated from age variation in the covariance structure of earnings. In this study, I show that this approach is invalid and tends to deliver estimates of HIP that are biased upward. The reason is that any age variation in covariance structures can be rationalized by age‐dependent heteroscedasticity in the distribution of earnings shocks. Once one models such age effects flexibly the remaining identifying variation for HIP is the shape of the tails of lag profiles. Credible estimation of HIP thus imposes strong demands on the data since one requires many earnings observations per individual and a low rate of sample attrition. To investigate empirically whether the bias in estimates of HIP from omitting age effects is quantitatively important, I thus rely on administrative data from Germany on quarterly earnings that follow workers from labor market entry until 27 years into their career. To strengthen external validity, I focus my analysis on an education group that displays a covariance structure with qualitatively similar properties like its North American counterpart. I find that a HIP model with age effects in transitory, persistent and permanent shocks fits the covariance structure almost perfectly and delivers small and insignificant estimates for the HIP component. In sharp contrast, once I estimate a standard HIP model without age‐effects the estimated slope heterogeneity increases by a factor of thirteen and becomes highly significant, with a dramatic deterioration of model fit. I reach the same conclusions from estimating the two models on a different covariance structure and from conducting a Monte Carlo analysis, suggesting that my quantitative results are not an artifact of one particular sample.
Do Smarter Teachers Make Smarter Students?
in: Education Next, No. 2, 2019
Student achievement varies widely across developed countries, but the source of these differences is not well understood. One obvious candidate, and a major focus of research and policy discussions both in the United States and abroad, is teacher quality.
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.
Plant-level Employment Development before Collective Displacements: Comparing Mass Layoffs, Plant Closures and Bankruptcies
in: Applied Economics, No. 50, 2018
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.
Discrimination on the Child Care Market: A Nationwide Field Experiment?
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 12, 2023
We provide the first causal evidence of discrimination against migrants seeking child care. We send emails from fictitious parents to > 18,000 early child care centers across Germany, asking if there is a slot available and how to apply. Randomly varying names to signal migration background, we find that migrants receive 4.4 percentage points fewer responses. Responses to migrants also contain substantially fewer slot offers, are shorter, and less encouraging. Exploring channels, discrimination against migrants does not differ by the perceived educational background of the email sender. However, it does differ by regional characteristics, being stronger in areas with lower shares of migrants in child care, higher right-wing vote shares, and lower financial resources. Discrimination on the child care market likely perpetuates existing inequalities of opportunities for disadvantaged children.
Skill Mismatch and the Costs of Job Displacement
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 11, 2023
When workers are displaced from their jobs in mass layoffs or firm closures, they experience lasting adverse labor market consequences. We study how these consequences vary with the amount of skill mismatch that workers experience when returning to the labor market. Using novel measures of skill redundancy and skill shortage, we analyze individuals‘ work histories in Germany between 1975 and 2010. We estimate difference-in-differences models, using a sample in which we match displaced workers to statistically similar non-displaced workers. We find that displacements increase the probability of occupational change eleven fold, and that the type of skill mismatch after displacement is strongly associated with the magnitude of post-displacement earnings losses. Whereas skill shortages are associated with relatively quick returns to the counterfactual earnings trajectories that displaced workers would have experienced absent displacement, skill redundancy sets displaced workers on paths with permanently lower earnings.
Discrimination on the Child Care Market: A Nationwide Field Experiment
in: CESifo Working Paper, No. 10368, 2023
We provide the first causal evidence of discrimination against migrants seeking child care. We send emails from fictitious parents to > 18, 000 early child care centers across Germany, asking if there is a slot available and how to apply. Randomly varying names to signal migration background, we find that migrants receive 4.4 percentage points fewer responses. Responses to migrants also contain substantially fewer slot offers, are shorter, and less encouraging. Exploring channels, discrimination against migrants does not differ by the perceived educational background of the email sender. However, it does differ by regional characteristics, being stronger in areas with lower shares of migrants in child care, higher right-wing vote shares, and lower financial resources. Discrimination on the child care market likely perpetuates existing inequalities of opportunities for disadvantaged children.
Where Do STEM Graduates Stem From? The Intergenerational Transmission of Comparative Skill Advantages
in: NBER Working Paper, No. 31186, 2023
The standard economic model of occupational choice following a basic Roy model emphasizes individual selection and comparative advantage, but the sources of comparative advantage are not well understood. We employ a unique combination of Dutch survey and registry data that links math and language skills across generations and permits analysis of the intergenerational transmission of comparative skill advantages. Exploiting within-family between-subject variation in skills, we show that comparative advantages in math of parents are significantly linked to those of their children. A causal interpretation follows from a novel IV estimation that isolates variation in parent skill advantages due to their teacher and classroom peer quality. Finally, we show the strong influence of family skill transmission on children’s choices of STEM fields.
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.