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Is Germany the North Star of Labor Market Policy?

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  • Ulf Rinne
  • Klaus F Zimmermann

Abstract

Germany’s recovery from an unemployment disease and its resilience to the Great Recession is remarkable. Its success story makes it a showcase for labor policy and labor market reforms. This paper assesses the potential of the German experience as a model for effective, evidence-based policymaking. Flexible management of working time (through overtime and short-time work, time accounts, and labor hoarding), social cohesion and controlled unit labor costs, combined with a rigid, incentive-oriented labor policy supported by effective program evaluation, define the characteristics of a strong reference model. Austerity, sometimes seen as core to the German model, is not viewed as a key element.

Suggested Citation

  • Ulf Rinne & Klaus F Zimmermann, 2013. "Is Germany the North Star of Labor Market Policy?," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 61(4), pages 702-729, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:imfecr:v:61:y:2013:i:4:p:702-729
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 15-90, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Karl BRENKE & Ulf RINNE & Klaus F. ZIMMERMANN, 2013. "Short-time work: The German answer to the Great Recession," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 152(2), pages 287-305, June.
    3. repec:iab:iabzaf:v:44:i:1/2:p:163-172 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Mathias Dolls & Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl, 2009. "Automatic Stabilizers and Economic Crisis: US vs. Europe," CESifo Working Paper Series 2878, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Werner Eichhorst & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2007. "And Then There Were Four...How Many (and Which) Measures of Active Labor Market Policy Do We Still Need?," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 53(3), pages 243-272.
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    7. Edward P. Lazear & James R. Spletzer, 2012. "The United States labor market: status quo or a new normal?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 405-451.
    8. Eichhorst, Werner & Grienberger-Zingerle, Maria & Konle-Seidl, Regina, 2006. "Activation Policies in Germany: From Status Protection to Basic Income Support," IZA Discussion Papers 2514, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Brändle, Tobias & Heinbach, Wolf Dieter & Maier, Michael F., 2011. "Tarifliche Öffnung in Deutschland: Ausmaß, Determinanten, Auswirkungen (Flexibilisation in the German system of wage bargaining: extent, determinants, impacts)," Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung - Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 44(1/2), pages 163-172.
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    12. Ulf Rinne & Klaus Zimmermann, 2012. "Another economic miracle? The German labor market and the Great Recession," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-21, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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