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The German Labour Market Miracle


Author Info

  • Jens Boysen-Hogrefe

    (Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Germany

  • Dominik Groll

    (Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Germany


This paper lays out the various reasons for the exceptional performance of the German labour market during and after the Great Recession of 2008/9. The reference point of our analysis is provided by an empirical model of both total hours worked and employment. We conduct dynamic simulations of the crisis period to assess how surprising the reaction of the labour market really was. We argue that the most important precondition for the minor reaction of employment during this crisis was the pronounced wage moderation observed in the years before, which constitutes a distinct difference to all other recessions in Germany. Beyond that, the flexibility of adjusting working time, which has increased considerably during the past ten years, facilitated a tendency to labour hoarding. In contrast, short-time work plays a minor role in explaining the difference from previous recessions, since this instrument has always been available to firms in Germany and its use has not been extraordinary compared with earlier recessions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by National Institute of Economic and Social Research in its journal National Institute Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 214 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: R38-R50

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Handle: RePEc:sae:niesru:v:214:y:2010:i:1:p:r38-r50

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Keywords: Labour market; Great Recession; employment; wage moderation; short-time work;


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Cited by:
  1. Michael C. Burda & Jennifer Hunt, 2011. "What Explains the German Labor Market Miracle in the Great Recession?," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-031, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  2. Alexander Herzog-Stein & Fabian Lindner & Simon Sturn, 2013. "Explaining the German Employment Miracle in the Great Recession – The Crucial Role of Temporary Working Time Reductions," IMK Working Paper 114-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  3. Richard B. Freeman, 2013. "Failing the Test? The Flexible U.S. Job Market in the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 19587, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Boysen-Hogrefe, Jens, 2013. "Wie der Staat 2010 bis 2012 konsolidiert hat," Kiel Policy Brief 62, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  5. Boysen-Hogrefe, Jens & Gern, Klaus-Jürgen & Jannsen, Nils & Plödt, Martin & Van Roye, Björn & Scheide, Joachim & Schwarzmüller, Tim & Groll, Dominik & Kooths, Stefan, 2011. "Weltkonjunktur und deutsche Konjunktur im Winter 2011," Kiel Discussion Papers 498/499, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  6. Schrader, Klaus & Laaser, Claus-Friedrich, 2012. "Die Krise in Südeuropa oder die Angst vor dem Dominoeffekt: Griechenland, Portugal und Spanien im Krisentest," Kiel Discussion Papers 500/501, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  7. Jennifer Hunt, 2012. "Flexible Work Time in Germany: Do Workers Like It and How Have Employers Exploited It over the Cycle?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 489, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  8. Dieter Hundt & Frank-Jürgen Weise & Hagen Lesch & Wolfgang Lechthaler & Christian Merkl, 2012. "Eurokrise, Energiewende, Konjunkturabkühlung: Ende des deutschen Jobwunders?," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 65(01), pages 03-13, 01.


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