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What Hides Behind the German Labor Market Miracle? Unemployment Insurance Reforms and Labor Market Dynamics

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  • Benjamin Hartung
  • Philip Jung
  • Moritz Kuhn

Abstract

A key question in labor market research is how the unemployment insurance system affects unemployment rates and labor market dynamics. We revisit this old question studying the German Hartz reforms. On average, lower separation rates explain 76% of declining unemployment after the reform, a fact unexplained by existing research focusing on job finding rates. The reduction in separation rates is heterogeneous, with long-term employed, high-wage workers being most affected. We causally link our empirical findings to the reduction in long-term unemployment benefits using a heterogeneous-agent labor market search model. Absent the reform, unemployment rates would be 50% higher today.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin Hartung & Philip Jung & Moritz Kuhn, 2018. "What Hides Behind the German Labor Market Miracle? Unemployment Insurance Reforms and Labor Market Dynamics," CESifo Working Paper Series 7379, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7379
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. What Hides behind the German Labor Market Miracle? Unemployment Insurance Reforms and Labor Market Dynamics
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2019-02-02 22:34:10

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Carrillo-Tudela & Hermann Gartner & Leo Kaas, 2020. "Recruitment Policies, Job-Filling Rates and Matching Efficiency," CESifo Working Paper Series 8299, CESifo.
    2. Carrillo-Tudela, Carlos & Launov, Andrey & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2021. "The fall in german unemployment: A flow analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    3. Biewen, Martin & Sturm, Miriam, 2021. "Why a Labour Market Boom Does Not Necessarily Bring Down Inequality: Putting Together Germany's Inequality Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 14357, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Gartner, Hermann & Rothe, Thomas & Weber, Enzo, 2019. "The quality-weighted matching function: Did the German labour market reforms trade of efficiency against job quality?," IAB Discussion Paper 201924, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    5. Simon Jäger & Benjamin Schoefer & Josef Zweimüller, 2018. "Marginal jobs and job surplus: a test of the efficiency of separations," ECON - Working Papers 314, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    6. Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Schnabel, Isabel & Truger, Achim & Wieland, Volker, 2019. "Den Strukturwandel meistern. Jahresgutachten 2019/20," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201920.
    7. Philip Jung & Anke Hassel & Robert Habeck & Matthias Knuth & Alexander Spermann & Hans Peter Grüner & Maximilian Joseph Blömer & Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl, 2019. "Reformvorschläge für den Arbeitsmarkt: Ist Hartz IV noch zukunftsfähig?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 72(06), pages 03-25, March.
    8. Camarero Garcia, Sebastian & Murmann, Martin, 2020. "Unemployment benefit duration and startup success," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-033, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    9. Jung, Philip & Korfmann, Philipp & Preugschat, Edgar, 2021. "Optimal Regional Labor Market Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 14204, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Hilmar Schneider, 2019. "The labor market in Germany, 2000–2018," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 379-379, December.
    11. Burda Michael C. & Seele Stefanie, 2020. "Reevaluating the German labor market miracle," German Economic Review, De Gruyter, vol. 21(2), pages 139-179, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment insurance; labor market flows; endogenous separations;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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