11.02.2019 • 3/2019
No-deal Brexit would hit the German labour market particularly hard
The United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a deal would have consequences for international trade and labour markets in many countries, including outside Europe. Calculations by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) indicate: More than 600,000 jobs may be affected worldwide, but nowhere as many as in Germany.
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18.12.2018 • 22/2018
IWH leads large scale EU research project on productivity
Is productivity growth slowing in industrialised countries? And if so, why? From the start of 2019, the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) will be addressing these questions as the coordinator of a new EU project. Economists and statistics experts from nine European partners will collaborate on the three-year project, entitled MICROPROD. With a total budget of just under three million euros, it is the IWH’s largest EU project to date.
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13.12.2018 • 21/2018
Economic activity in the world and in Germany is losing momentum
In the second half of 2018, the upturn of the German economy has stalled. Production of the automotive industry declined because of delays in switching production to WLTP compliant cars. Irrespectively of this, the German export business has been weakening since the beginning of the year, since the global economy, burdened by the political uncertainties surrounding trade conflicts, the impending Brexit and the conflict over the Italian budget, was unable to keep up with the high momentum of 2017. “It is to be expected that the less benign external environment will not only dampen exports, but will also impact on companies’ investment and hiring decisions”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). Gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.5% in 2018 and by 1.4% in 2019, which is roughly equal to the growth rate of economic capacity in Germany.
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Lohnunterschiede zwischen Betrieben in Ost- und Westdeutschland: Ausmaß und mögliche Erklärungsfaktoren. Ergebnisse aus dem IAB-Betriebspanel 2017
The economic situation in German establishments improved even further in 2017. The development of wages, however, reflects this economic growth only partly. Compared to 1997, the wage differential between large and small establishments increased considerably – with substantially lower wages paid in East Germany in general. The wage differential of about 19 percent between East and West Germany can to some extent be explained in a multivariate analysis (Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition) showing that the main cause for the wage gap is the productivity gap between East German and West German establishments; other structural heterogeneities like sector composition, industrial relations and size structure seem not to contribute to an explanation of this gap. The overall positive economic development in Germany is associated with a further growth in total employment and with increased labor market dynamics, especially regarding employee turnover. Turnover rates, however, are very heterogeneous among sectors, ranging from 23 percent in the accommodation and food service sector and less than five percent in public administration. Also the demand for skilled personnel continued to grow. Yet for the first time, not even two thirds of the posted job vacancies could be filled in 2017. With over fifty percent, this non-occupancy quota is particularly high in the construction industry. Also small and very small establishments face serious recruitment problems. The structure of formal occupational skill requirements did not change very much over recent years, but the increasing use of digital technologies changes everyday job requirements and may lead to a rising workload for employees. Looking at the personnel structure in the German economy, a growing share of atypical employment becomes apparent, especially in form of part-time jobs. The proportion of marginal employment remains relatively stable and is comparatively high in sectors with less specific knowledge requirements and strong cyclical and/or seasonal fluctuations like is the case in accommodation and food service sector or personal services sector. Since 2010, the proportion of establishments authorized to provide in-company vocational training has declined constantly and now accounts for 53 percent of the establishments in Germany. About one half of these establishments do actually train apprentices. The share of vacant apprenticeships further increased in 2017 to about one quarter of all apprenticeships offered, in East Germany even to more than one third. As in recent years, the share of establishments supporting further training of their employees remained stable at about fifty percent and the proportion of employees participating in training is still about one third. In East Germany these figures prove to be slightly higher.
27.09.2018 • 18/2018
Joint Economic Forecast Autumn 2018: Upturn Loses Momentum
Berlin, 27 September – Germany’s leading economics research institutes have downwardly revised their forecasts for 2018 and 2019. They now expect economic output to increase by 1.7 percent in 2018, and not 2.2 percent as forecast in spring. They also scaled back their 2019 forecast slightly from 2.0 to 1.9 percent. These are the results of the Joint Economic Forecast for autumn 2018 that will be presented in Berlin on Thursday.
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19.04.2018 • 7/2018
Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2018: Germany’s Economic Experts Raise Forecast Slightly
Berlin, 19 April – Germany’s leading economic experts raised their forecasts for 2018 and 2019 slightly in their Spring Joint Economic Forecast released on Thursday in Berlin. They now expect economic growth of 2.2 percent for this year and 2.0 percent for 2019, versus 2.0 percent and 1.8 percent respectively in their autumn forecast. “The German economy is still booming, but the air is getting thinner as unused capacities are shrinking“, notes Timo Wollmershaeuser, ifo Head of Economic Forecasting. Commenting on the new German government’s economic policy, he adds: “It is precisely when the government’s coffers are full that fiscal policy should reflect the implications of its actions for overall economic stability and the sustainability of public finances. The extension of statutory pension benefits outlined in the coalition agreement runs counter to the idea of sustainability.”
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Germany’s Economic Experts Raise Forecast Slightly: Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2018
The German economy continues to boom, but the air is getting thinner. Unused economic capacities are gradually shrinking, leading to a slight loss of economic impetus. The pace of economic expansion nevertheless remains brisk: the upturn in the world economy will continue to stimulate exports; and the domestic economy is also expected to remain buoyant thanks to the exceptionally favourable situation in the labour market. The fiscal measures outlined by Germany’s new government in its coalition agreement can be expected to stimulate demand. Annual average economic output can be expected to rise by 2.2 percent this year and by 2.0 percent in 2019. This represents a 0.2 percentage point increase in the institutes’ assessment of growth in gross domestic product versus their autumn 2017 forecast. Employment will continue to see clear growth, but will be weakened by labour market shortages. At the same time, gross wages can be expected to increase markedly. The inflation rate will also rise gradually from 1.7 percent this year to 1.9 percent in 2019.
Produktivitätsunterschiede zwischen West- und Ostdeutschland und mögliche Erklärungsfaktoren. Ergebnisse aus dem IAB-Betriebspanel 2016
After several years of prosperity, the economic situation of German establishments improved further in 2016. Though the productivity in East German establishments converged slightly to the West German level, a significant productivity gap between both parts of Germany still remains. Differences in the economic structure can only explain a small part of this persistent gap: a Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition suggests that the different sector composition, lower exports and lower capital intensity of East German establishments explain only about one-fifth of the backlog. The observed positive economic development is associated with a further increase in firm profitability and total employment in the establishments in both parts of Germany. It is reflected also in a further increase in the demand for skilled personnel. Even though the majority of the demand could be met in 2016, one-third of all offered jobs remained vacant. As in the past, especially establishments in construction and business services as well as very small establishments, particularly in East Germany, faced considerable recruitment problems. The occupational skill requirements increased slightly over time. The proportion of jobs for skilled workers is on average higher in East German establishments than in West Germany, suggesting a higher formal qualification level of employees in East Germany. Looking at the personnel structure, a significant increase in the share of atypical employment, particularly part-time jobs and marginal employment, over the last years become visible. The participation of establishments in vocational training remains relatively stable: about half of the enterprises that are authorized to provide vocational training do actually train apprentices. However, the corresponding fraction in East Germany is significantly lower since the economic crisis. In contrast, the share of vacant apprenticeship positions there is much higher than in West German establishments, pointing to major problems in finding suitable applicants. The share of employees participating in further training is about one third for several years. As in the past workers in low-skilled occupations participate only about half as often in training as employees in qualified jobs.
Coming to Work While Sick: An Economic Theory of Presenteeism With an Application to German Data
Oxford Economic Papers,
Presenteeism, i.e. attending work while sick, is widespread and associated with significant costs. Still, economic analyses of this phenomenon are rare. In a theoretical model, we show that presenteeism arises due to differences between workers in (healthrelated) disutility from workplace attendance. As these differences are unobservable by employers, they set wages that incentivise sick workers to attend work. Using a large representative German data set, we test several hypotheses derived from our model. In line with our predictions, we find that bad health status and stressful working conditions are positively related to presenteeism. Better dismissal protection, captured by higher tenure, is associated with slightly fewer presenteeism days, whereas the role of productivity and skills is inconclusive.
Skills, Earnings, and Employment: Exploring Causality in the Estimation of Returns to Skills
Large-scale Assessments in Education,
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.