Elderly Left Behind? How Older Workers Can Participate in the Modern Labor Market
In her 2021 State of the Union address, European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen announced that “[the EU] will invest in 5G and fiber. But equally important is the investment in digital skills.” Indeed, the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, which runs until 2026, has earmarked substantial funds to tackle the digital divide, in acknowledgment of the fact that the EU is not only missing ICT specialists but also that many Europeans do not have sufficient digital skills to thrive in today’s society and labor market. Many observers argue that older workers in particular lack digital skills, suffering more often from computer anxiety and showing lower computer self-efficacy (Czaja et al. 2006). This lack of skills hampers their employability and productivity in a technologically fast-changing world.
Hysteresis from Employer Subsidies
Journal of Public Economics,
This paper uses administrative data to analyze a large and 8-year long employer payroll tax rate cut in Sweden for young workers aged 26 or less. We replicate previous results documenting that during the earlier years of the reform, it raised youth employment among the treated workers, driven by labor demand (as workers’ take-home wages did not respond). First, drawing on additional years of data, this paper then documents that the longer-run effects during the reform are twice as large as the medium-run effects. Second, we document novel labor-demand-driven “hysteresis” from this policy – i.e. persistent employment effects even after the subsidy no longer applies – along two dimensions. Over the lifecycle, employment effects persist even after workers age out of eligibility. Three years after the repeal, employment remains elevated at the maximal reform level in the formerly subsidized ages. These hysteresis effects more than double the direct employment effects of the reform. Discrimination against young workers in job posting fell during the reform and does not bounce back after repeal, potentially explaining our results.
Birds, Birds, Birds: Co-worker Similarity, Workplace Diversity and Job Switches
British Journal of Industrial Relations,
We investigate how the demographic composition of the workforce along the sex, nationality, education, age and tenure dimensions affects job switches. Fitting duration models for workers’ job‐to‐job turnover rate that control for workplace fixed effects in a representative sample of large manufacturing plants in Germany during 1975–2016, we find that larger co‐worker similarity in all five dimensions substantially depresses job‐to‐job moves, whereas workplace diversity is of limited importance. In line with conventional wisdom, which has that birds of a feather flock together, our interpretation of the results is that workers prefer having co‐workers of their kind and place less value on diverse workplaces.
Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship
American Economic Review: Insights,
Many observers, and many investors, believe that young people are especially likely to produce the most successful new firms. Integrating administrative data on firms, workers, and owners, we study start-ups systematically in the United States and find that successful entrepreneurs are middle-aged, not young. The mean age at founding for the 1-in-1,000 fastest growing new ventures is 45.0. The findings are similar when considering high-technology sectors, entrepreneurial hubs, and successful firm exits. Prior experience in the specific industry predicts much greater rates of entrepreneurial success. These findings strongly reject common hypotheses that emphasize youth as a key trait of successful entrepreneurs.
HIP, RIP, and the Robustness of Empirical Earnings Processes
The dispersion of individual returns to experience, often referred to as heterogeneity of income profiles (HIP), is a key parameter in empirical human capital models, in studies of life‐cycle income inequality, and in heterogeneous agent models of life‐cycle labor market dynamics. It is commonly estimated from age variation in the covariance structure of earnings. In this study, I show that this approach is invalid and tends to deliver estimates of HIP that are biased upward. The reason is that any age variation in covariance structures can be rationalized by age‐dependent heteroscedasticity in the distribution of earnings shocks. Once one models such age effects flexibly the remaining identifying variation for HIP is the shape of the tails of lag profiles. Credible estimation of HIP thus imposes strong demands on the data since one requires many earnings observations per individual and a low rate of sample attrition. To investigate empirically whether the bias in estimates of HIP from omitting age effects is quantitatively important, I thus rely on administrative data from Germany on quarterly earnings that follow workers from labor market entry until 27 years into their career. To strengthen external validity, I focus my analysis on an education group that displays a covariance structure with qualitatively similar properties like its North American counterpart. I find that a HIP model with age effects in transitory, persistent and permanent shocks fits the covariance structure almost perfectly and delivers small and insignificant estimates for the HIP component. In sharp contrast, once I estimate a standard HIP model without age‐effects the estimated slope heterogeneity increases by a factor of thirteen and becomes highly significant, with a dramatic deterioration of model fit. I reach the same conclusions from estimating the two models on a different covariance structure and from conducting a Monte Carlo analysis, suggesting that my quantitative results are not an artifact of one particular sample.
04.03.2019 • 6/2019
New IWH publication takes stock: “United country – three decades after the Wall came down”
How is Germany’s economy faring 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall? A new publication by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) uses illustrative maps and graphs to show how the Federal Republic has developed compared to other countries and how economic unification has progressed. The publication presents many new findings, including on productivity differences between east and west, urban and rural development, as well as the availability of skilled labour.
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28.09.2017 • 35/2017
Joint Economic Forecast—Autumn 2017: Upturn Remains Robust—Amid Mounting Tensions
The German economic upturn has gained both in terms of strength and breadth. In addition to consumer spending, external trade and investments are now also contributing to economic expansion. These are the conclusions drawn by the economic research institutes in their autumn report for the German federal government. Whereas the very high economic momentum in the first half of the current year will slow slightly, expansion of economic output this year and next will exceed production capacity growth. As a result, overall capacity utilization will increase, with economic output exceeding potential output. Gross Domestic Product is likely to grow by 1.9 percent this year and by 2 percent in 2018 (calendar-adjusted: 2.2 and 2.1 percent, respectively).
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29.09.2016 • 40/2016
Joint Economic Forecast: German Economy on Track – Economic Policy needs to be Realigned
Thanks to a stable job market and solid consumption, the German economy is experiencing a moderate upswing. The GDP is expected to increase by 1.9 percent this year, 1.4 percent in 2017, and 1.6 percent in 2018, according to the Gemeinschaftsdiagnose (GD, joint economic forecast) that was prepared by five of Europe’s leading economic research institutes on behalf of the Federal Government. The most recent GD, which was released in April, predicted a GDP growth rate of 1.6 percent for 2016 and 1.5 percent for 2017.
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16.12.2015 • 45/2015
German Economy: Strong domestic demand compensates for weak exports
The upturn of the German economy is expected to gain further momentum as a consequence of strong domestic demand. Real gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.6% in 2016. Consumer prices are expected to rise by 0.9%. Unemployment is expected to rise slightly because it will take time to integrate refugees into the labour market.
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