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Capitalists Against Crisis: Employers and Short Time Work in Germany and Italy, 2008-2010


  • Federico Pancaldi


Why did employers pro-actively support the temporary expansion of short time work (STW) schemes during the recent crisis? This paper conceptualizes the role of STW in this contingency as an instrument of subsidized job protection that enabled employers to hoard skilled labor, reduce non-wage labor costs on fallen work hours, and preserve social rest with unions. Two sources of variation are analyzed, at cross-national and cross-sectoral level. By comparing Germany and Italy, the paper finds that employers support for STW was especially strong in skill-intensive manufacturing sectors in both countries, in line with theoretical expectations. However, cross-national diversity in the design and institutional function of STW within their respective labor market regimes shaped different incentive structures for employers in small firms and low-skill services. More generous subsidization of STW through public resources explains the stronger favor of this group in Italy than in Germany.

Suggested Citation

  • Federico Pancaldi, 2011. "Capitalists Against Crisis: Employers and Short Time Work in Germany and Italy, 2008-2010," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 222, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  • Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:222

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, July.
    2. Menzio, Guido & Shi, Shouyong, 2010. "Block recursive equilibria for stochastic models of search on the job," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(4), pages 1453-1494, July.
    3. Giuseppe Bertola & Pietro Garibaldi, 2001. "Wages and the Size of Firms in Dynamic Matching Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(2), pages 335-368, April.
    4. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1994. "Search Unemployment with On-the-job Search," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 457-475.
    5. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-273, May.
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    More about this item


    employers; short time work; employment protection; financial crisis; crosssectoral approach;

    JEL classification:

    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy


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