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

Your contact

Dr André Diegmann
Dr André Diegmann
Mitglied - Department Structural Change and Productivity
Send Message +49 345 7753-873 Personal page

EXTERNAL FUNDING

01.2020 ‐ 12.2023

The Rise of Populist Parties in Europe: The Dark Side of Globalization and Technological Change?

VolkswagenStiftung

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.

see project's webpage

Professor Dr Steffen Müller

01.2019 ‐ 06.2022

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.

see project's webpage

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.

see project's page on DFG website

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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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: 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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Establishment Survival in East and West Germany: A Comparative Analysis

Daniel Fackler

in: Schmollers Jahrbuch, No. 2, 2014

Abstract

Using a large administrative dataset, this paper compares the development of new establishments’ survival chances in East and West Germany for the period 1994 – 2008. A central question is whether convergence with respect to survival rates between East and West Germany can be observed. Using methods of survival analysis, I find that new establishments’ survival chances do not differ strongly between East and West Germany at the beginning of the observation period. In 1998 and 1999 the exit hazard increases strongly in East but not in West Germany, which is likely to be due to a change in the subsidy policy affecting East Germany. Since the turn of the millennium, the difference in establishments’ exit hazard between East and West Germany becomes smaller, indicating that there is convergence with respect to establishments’ survival chances.

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Firm Leadership and the Gender Pay Gap: Do Active Owners Discriminate more than Hired Managers?

Boris Hirsch Steffen Müller

in: Journal for Labour Market Research, No. 1, 2014

Abstract

Using a large linked employer–employee data set for Germany, we investigate differences in the unexplained gender pay gap between owner-run and manager-run firms. We hypothesise that owner-managers and hired managers differ in their discretion to engage in profit-reducing taste discrimination against women, which would translate into different pay gaps depending on leadership regime. We find that unexplained gaps are significantly higher in owner-run firms, both statistically and economically. Yet, scrutinising these results by restricting our analysis to firms that only differ in leadership regime, this substantial difference disappears. Therefore, our findings do not support that active owners are more discriminatory per se.

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Establishment Exits in Germany: The Role of Size and Age

Daniel Fackler Claus Schnabel J. Wagner

in: Small Business Economics, No. 3, 2013

Abstract

Using comprehensive data for West Germany, this paper investigates the determinants of establishment exit. We find that between 1975 and 2006 the average exit rate has risen considerably. In order to test various “liabilities” of establishment survival identified in the literature, we analyzed the impact of establishment size and put a special focus on differences between young and mature establishments. Our empirical analysis shows that the mortality risk falls with establishment size, which confirms the liability of smallness. The probability of exit is substantially higher for young establishments which are not more than 5 years old, thus confirming the liability of newness. There also exists a liability of aging since exit rates first decline over time, reaching a minimum at ages 15–18, and then rise again somewhat. The determinants of exit differ substantially between young and mature establishments, suggesting that young establishments are more vulnerable in a number of ways.

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Working Papers

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Robot Adoption at German Plants

Liuchun Deng Verena Plümpe Jens Stegmaier

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 19, 2020

Abstract

Using a newly collected dataset of robot use at the plant level from 2014 to 2018, we provide the first microscopic portrait of robotisation in Germany and study the potential determinants of robot adoption. Our descriptive analysis uncovers five stylised facts concerning both extensive and, perhaps more importantly, intensive margin of plant-level robot use: (1) Robot use is relatively rare with only 1.55% German plants using robots in 2018. (2) The distribution of robots is highly skewed. (3) New robot adopters contribute substantially to the recent robotisation. (4) Robot users are exceptional along several dimensions of plant-level characteristics. (5) Heterogeneity in robot types matters. Our regression results further suggest plant size, low-skilled labour share, and exporter status to have strong and positive effect on future probability of robot adoption. Manufacturing plants impacted by the introduction of minimum wage in 2015 are also more likely to adopt robots. However, controlling for plant size, we find that plant-level productivity has no, if not negative, impact on robot adoption.

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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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