A Congestion Theory of Unemployment Fluctuations
American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics,
We propose a theory of unemployment fluctuations in which newhires and incumbentworkers are imperfect substitutes. Hence, attempts to hire away the unemployed during recessions diminish the marginal product of new hires, discouraging job creation. This single feature achieves a ten-fold increase in the volatility of hiring in an otherwise standard search model, produces a realistic Beveridge curve despite countercyclical separations, and explains 30–40% of U.S. unemployment fluctuations. Additionally, it explains the excess procyclicality of new hires’ wages, the cyclical labor wedge, countercyclical earnings losses from job displacement, and the limited steady-state effects of unemployment insurance.
05.04.2023 • 9/2023
East German economy has come through energy crisis well so far – Implications of the Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2023 and new data for the East German economy
In 2022, the East German economy expanded by 3.0%, significantly stronger than the economy in West Germany (1.5%). The background is a more robust development of labour and retirement incomes. For 2023, the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) forecasts a higher GDP growth rate of 1% in East Germany than in Germany as a whole (0.3%). The unemployment rate is expected to stagnate, with 6.8% in 2023 and 6.7% in the following year.
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Organised Labour, Labour Market Imperfections, and Employer Wage Premia
IWH Discussion Papers,
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
IWH Discussion Papers,
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.
Globalization, Productivity Growth, and Labor Compensation
IWH Discussion Papers,
We analyze how changes in international trade integration affect productivity and the functional income distribution. To account for endogeneity, we construct a leaveout measure for international trade integration for country-industry pairs using international input-output tables. Our findings corroborate on the country-industry level that international trade integration increases productivity. Moreover, we show that both trade in intermediate inputs and trade in value added is associated with lower labor shares in emerging markets. For advanced countries, we document a positive effect of trade in value added on the labor share of income. Further, we show that the effects on productivity and labor share are heterogeneous across different sectors. Finally, we discuss the implications of our results for a possible throwback in international trade integration due to experiences from recent crises.
Labor in the Boardroom
Quarterly Journal of Economics,
We estimate the wage effects of shared governance, or codetermination, in the form of a mandate of one-third of corporate board seats going to worker representatives. We study a reform in Germany that abruptly abolished this mandate for stock corporations incorporated after August 1994, while it locked the mandate for the slightly older cohorts. Our research design compares firm cohorts incorporated before the reform and after; in a robustness check we draw on the analogous difference in unaffected firm types (LLCs). We find no effects of board-level codetermination on wages and the wage structure, even in firms with particularly flexible wages. The degree of rent sharing and the labor share are also unaffected. We reject that disinvestment could have offset wage effects through the canonical hold-up channel, as shared governance, if anything, increases capital formation.