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 ‐ 06.2024
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)
Skills, Earnings, and Employment: Exploring Causality in the Estimation of Returns to Skills
in: Large-scale Assessments in Education, No. 12, 2017
Ample evidence indicates that a person’s human capital is important for success on the labor market in terms of both wages and employment prospects. However, unlike the efforts to identify the impact of school attainment on labor-market outcomes, the literature on returns to cognitive skills has not yet provided convincing evidence that the estimated returns can be causally interpreted. Using the PIAAC Survey of Adult Skills, this paper explores several approaches that aim to address potential threats to causal identification of returns to skills, in terms of both higher wages and better employment chances. We address measurement error by exploiting the fact that PIAAC measures skills in several domains. Furthermore, we estimate instrumental-variable models that use skill variation stemming from school attainment and parental education to circumvent reverse causation. Results show a strikingly similar pattern across the diverse set of countries in our sample. In fact, the instrumental-variable estimates are consistently larger than those found in standard least-squares estimations. The same is true in two “natural experiments,” one of which exploits variation in skills from changes in compulsory-schooling laws across U.S. states. The other one identifies technologically induced variation in broadband Internet availability that gives rise to variation in ICT skills across German municipalities. Together, the results suggest that least-squares estimates may provide a lower bound of the true returns to skills in the labor market.
Coping with Change: International Differences in the Returns to Skills
in: Economics Letters, April 2017
International data from the PIAAC survey allow estimation of comparable labor-market returns to skills for 32 countries. Returns to skills are larger in faster growing economies, consistent with the hypothesis that skills are particularly important for adaptation to economic change.
Paternal Unemployment During Childhood: Causal Effects on Youth Worklessness and Educational Attainment
in: Oxford Economic Papers, No. 1, 2017
Using long-running data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1984–2012), we investigate the impact of paternal unemployment on child labour market and education outcomes. We first describe correlation patterns and then use sibling fixed effects and the Gottschalk (1996) method to identify the causal effects of paternal unemployment. We find different patterns for sons and daughters. Paternal unemployment does not seem to causally affect the outcomes of sons. In contrast, it increases both daughters’ worklessness and educational attainment. We test the robustness of the results and explore potential explanations.
Gender Wage Discrimination: Does the Extent of Competition in Labor Markets Explain why Female Workers are Paid Less than Men?
in: IZA World of Labor, No. 310, 2016
There are pronounced and persistent wage differences between men and women in all parts of the world. A significant element of these wage disparities can be attributed to differences in worker and workplace characteristics, which are likely to mirror differences in worker productivity. However, a large part of these differences remains unexplained, and it is common to attribute them to discrimination by the employer that is rooted in prejudice against female workers. Yet recent empirical evidence suggests that, to a large extent, the gaps reflect “monopsonistic” wage discrimination—that is, employers exploiting their wage-setting power over women—rather than any sort of prejudice.
FDI, Human Capital and Income Convergence — Evidence for European Regions
in: Economic Systems, No. 2, 2016
This study examines income convergence in regional GDP per capita for a sample of 269 regions within the European Union (EU) between 2003 and 2010. We use an endogenous broad capital model based on foreign direct investment (FDI) induced agglomeration economies and human capital. By applying a Markov chain approach to a new dataset that exploits micro-aggregated sub-national FDI statistics, the analysis provides insights into regional income growth dynamics within the EU. Our results indicate a weak process of overall income convergence across EU regions. This does not apply to the dynamics within Central and East European countries (CEECs), where we find indications of a poverty trap. In contrast to FDI, regional human capital seems to be associated with higher income levels. However, we identify a positive interaction of FDI and human capital in their relation with income growth dynamics.
Organised Labour, Labour Market Imperfections, and Employer Wage Premia
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 20, 2022
This paper examines how collective bargaining through unions and workplace co-determination through works councils relate to labour market imperfections and how labour market imperfections relate to employer wage premia. Based on representative German plant data for the years 1999–2016, we document that 70% of employers pay wages below the marginal revenue product of labour and 30% pay wages above. We further find that the prevalence of wage mark-downs is significantly smaller when organised labour is present and that the ratio of wages to the marginal revenue product of labour is significantly bigger. Finally, we document a close link between labour market imperfections and mean employer wage premia, that is wage differences between employers corrected for worker sorting.
Identifying Rent-sharing Using Firms‘ Energy Input Mix
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 19, 2022
We present causal evidence on the rent-sharing elasticity of German manufacturing firms. We develop a new firm-level Bartik instrument for firm rents that combines the firms‘ predetermined energy input mix with national energy carrier price changes. Reduced-form evidence shows that higher energy prices depress wages. Instrumental variable estimation yields a rent-sharing elasticity of approximately 0.20. Rent-sharing induced by energy price variation is asymmetric and driven by energy price increases, implying that workers do not benefit from energy price reductions but are harmed by price increases. The rent-sharing elasticity is substantially larger in small (0.26) than in large (0.17) firms.
Individualism, Human Capital Formation, and Labor Market Success
in: CESifo Working Paper, No. 9391, 2021
There is an ongoing debate about the economic effects of individualism. We establish that individualism leads to better educational and labor market outcomes. Using data from the largest international adult skill assessment, we identify the effects of individualism by exploiting variation between migrants at the origin country, origin language, and person level. Migrants from more individualistic cultures have higher cognitive skills and larger skill gains over time. They also invest more in their skills over the life-cycle, as they acquire more years of schooling and are more likely to participate in adult education activities. In fact, individualism is more important in explaining adult skill formation than any other cultural trait that has been emphasized in previous literature. In the labor market, more individualistic migrants earn higher wages and are less often unemployed. We show that our results cannot be explained by selective migration or omitted origin-country variables.
Behavioral Barriers and the Socioeconomic Gap in Child Care Enrollment
in: CESifo Working Paper, No. 9282, 2021
Children with lower socioeconomic status (SES) tend to benefit more from early child care, but are substantially less likely to be enrolled. We study whether reducing behavioral barriers in the application process increases enrollment in child care for lower-SES children. In our RCT in Germany with highly subsidized child care (n > 600), treated families receive application information and personal assistance for applications. For lower-SES families, the treatment increases child care application rates by 21 pp and enrollment rates by 16 pp. Higher-SES families are not affected by the treatment. Thus, alleviating behavioral barriers closes half of the SES gap in early child care enrollment.
The Effects of Graduating from High School in a Recession: College Investments, Skill Formation, and Labor-Market Outcomes
in: CESifo Working Paper, No. 8252, 2020
We investigate the short- and long-term effects of economic conditions at high-school graduation as a source of exogenous variation in the labor-market opportunities of potential college entrants. Exploiting business cycle fluctuations across birth cohorts for 28 developed countries, we find that bad economic conditions at high-school graduation increase college enrollment and graduation. They also affect outcomes in later life, increasing cognitive skills and improving labor-market success. Outcomes are affected only by the economic conditions at high-school graduation, but not by those during earlier or later years. Recessions at high-school graduation narrow the gender gaps in numeracy skills and labor-market success.