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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Do Women Benefit from Competitive Markets? Product Market Competition and the Gender Pay Gap in Germany

Boris Hirsch Michael Oberfichtner Claus Schnabel

in: Economics Bulletin, No. 2, 2012

Abstract

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.

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Works Councils and Firm Profits Revisited

Steffen Müller

in: British Journal of Industrial Relations, No. 1, 2011

Abstract

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.

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Betriebsräte und betriebliche Produktivität

Steffen Müller

in: Schmollers Jahrbuch, No. 1, 2011

Abstract

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.

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Works Councils and Separations: Voice, Monopoly, and Insurance Effects

Boris Hirsch Thorsten Schank Claus Schnabel

in: Industrial Relations, No. 4, 2010

Abstract

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.

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Kosten und Nutzen der Ausbildung an Tertiärbildungsinstitutionen im Vergleich

Martina Eschelbach G. Heineck Steffen Müller Regina T. Riphahn

in: Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, No. 2, 2010

Abstract

We compare German institutions of tertiary education (universities and polytechnics) with respect to the cost of and the returns to their educational degrees. Based on cost data from two different sources we find that on average the expenditures of universities are lower than those of polytechnics when we consider expenditures per potential enrollee and per student enrolled during the regular education period. We apply data from the German Socio-economic Panel (2001–2007) to estimate the private returns to tertiary education and find higher returns to university than polytechnic training. These results are robust to a variety of alternative procedures.

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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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