31.07.2018 • 16/2018
Fairness pays off
When companies arbitrarily cut their wages, the motivation and productivity of the employees decrease – this is clear. Less obvious, however: employees also become less productive even if it is their colleagues who are treated unfairly and not them. This was confirmed by a research group led by Sabrina Jeworrek at the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association.
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25.05.2018 • 12/2018
The resistance of employers against works councils
Germany votes. However, this time it’s not about the politicians – instead it’s about the works councils. It’s certainly worthwhile: Many studies have shown that works councils all in all have a positive impact on productivity, wages and profits. Despite this, employers are sometimes very resistant to the idea of staff involvement in company decision-making. A common argument is that such participation limits managerial freedom and that employers are willing to sacrifice the benefits of staff participation in return for greater room for manoeuvre. Steffen Müller from the Halle Institute for Economic Research Halle (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association now provides an alternative economic justification for employer resistance: Employer associations are dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises, and in these works councils – in contrast to large firms – often produce no positive economic benefits.
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Arbeitnehmermitbestimmung und Tarifverträge im Fokus –
14. IWH/IAB-Workshop zur Arbeitsmarktpolitik
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Bereits zum 14. Mal fand am 18. und 19. September der diesjährige Workshop zur Arbeitsmarktpolitik am IWH in Halle (Saale) statt, der traditionell gemeinsam mit dem Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB) organisiert wird. Mit dem Schwerpunkt „Industrielle Beziehungen: Arbeitnehmermitbestimmung und Tarifverträge im Fokus“ widmete sich der Workshop einem wirtschaftspolitisch aktuellen Thema.
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.
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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The Behavioral Impact of Non-Monetary Workplace Characteristics
Schriftenreihe innovative betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung und Praxis,
This book investigates the impact of non-monetary workplace characteristics ― i.e. employee voice, task characteristics, and the provision of information ― on workers’ individual decision making and workplace performance. Given the neoclassical assumption of purely self-interested and completely rational utility maximizing individuals, workplace characteristics should be of little interest as long as they are not directly related to payment issues, so that a worker’s utility maximizing effort choice given a fixed wage level remains unaffected. Recent empirical findings, however, suggest that the use of non-monetary incentives might even be the better option to increase work performance. Three out of the four experimental studies covered by this book extend the previous research by providing more reliable insights into field behavior than conventional laboratory experiments. Given e.g. the right to self-determine one’s wage, almost all participants in the laboratory opt for the highest possible wage. Within the context of an inventory taking with 140 assistants, we conducted a natural field experiment and show that most workers ask for rather moderate wages with women being particularly conservative in their demands. Notwithstanding, wage delegation causes workers’ performance to rise and, hence, stresses the relevance of voice at the workplace. Furthermore, we provide evidence that workers also care for the content and the meaningfulness of their tasks. Uselessly exerted effort, for instance, reduces work performance as regards a completely unrelated task in the future. Taken together, the field experimental evidence presented in this book indicates that if employees find a workplace which matches their preferences, it is quite likely to be a beneficial situation not only for the employee but also for the employer. Overall good working conditions can even help workers overlook unequal treatments within the workforce, at least in the short-run and as long as there is a plausible reason for it. An additional laboratory experiment, however, suggests that additional information, e.g. about potential coworkers, might be necessary to make reasonable decisions in accordance with individual preferences.
Does Temporary Employment Affect the Work-related Training of Low-skilled Employees?
Zeitschrift für Arbeitsmarktforschung,
Using the German Mikrozensus 2004, this paper analyses the effect of temporary contracts on work-related training for low-skilled workers. To take systematic differences between temporary and permanent employees into account, we estimate a bivariate probit model for whether fixed-term employment affects participation in work-related training. We conclude that holding a temporary contract does not have systematic disadvantages in access to further training.
Does temporary employment influence the workrelated training of low-skilled employees?
IWH Discussion Papers,
Fixed-term contracts are considerd as one of the most popular instruments of labour market flexibility. Although they provide new labour market options for employer and employees, it is argued that they may lead to decreasing investments in human capital. From the theoretical point of view it is not clear wheter a fixed-term contract is a drawback for the participation in work-related training. The paper deals with the influence of fixed-term contracts on work-related training especially for low-skilled workers. Based on the Micro Census data of 2004, we estimate a bivariate probit model for the probability of fixed-term employment and participating in work-related training. This model enables us to control for selection effects that may arise from unobservable factors. From the estimation results we can conclude that holding a fixed-term contract does not mean a systematical disadvantage for the training probability of low-skilled employees.
Too old to work? The impact of age on productivity
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Due to the public debate on the raising legal re-tirement age in Germany labor market research has recently focused on an explanation of the low labor market participation rate of elders. In the economic discussion the low participation is pri-marily explained by a supposed imbalance of la-bor costs and returns for old workers. Whereas wages rise with increasing age, the individual productivity seems to fall beyond a certain age. Gerontological research supports this view, since it documents an age-driven decline of physical and certain mental abilities. The study empirically evaluates the thesis of a diminishing individual productivity at higher ages. The analysis is done on the basis of a new dataset for German firms of the manufacturing sector. Using these data the effect of the employee’s age on a firm’s productiv-ity is estimated and conclusions on the job per-formance of workers at different ages are drawn. The performed cross-section-regressions of the years 2003 and 2000 indicate an inverted u-shaped age-productivity-profile. The 25-44 year olds turn out to be the most productive, the share of the over 44 year old workers seems to dampen productivity. However the 15-24 age group makes the lowest productivity contribution. Moreover a positive effect of firm-related experience can be found. Due to elders’ higher stock of firm specific human capital this might at least partly compen-sate the unfavorable effects of aging.
From a political perspective these findings sup-port the view, that an increasing legal retirement age will not automatically lead to a remarkable extension of the labor demand for older people. In addition to legal aspects the wage schemes and the actual productivity profiles in higher age have to be linked more closely together.