IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/8520.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What Explains the German Labor Market Miracle in the Great Recession?

Author

Listed:
  • Burda, Michael C
  • Hunt, Jennifer

Abstract

Germany experienced an even deeper fall in GDP in the Great Recession than the United States, with little employment loss. Employers’ reticence to hire in the preceding expansion, associated in part with a lack of confidence it would last, contributed to an employment shortfall equivalent to 40 percent of the missing employment decline in the recession. Another 20 percent may be explained by wage moderation. A third important element was the widespread adoption of working time accounts, which permit employers to avoid overtime pay if hours per worker average to standard hours over a window of time. We find that this provided disincentives for employers to lay off workers in the downturn. Although the overall cuts in hours per worker were consistent with the severity of the Great Recession, reduction of working time account balances substituted for traditional government-sponsored short-time work.

Suggested Citation

  • Burda, Michael C & Hunt, Jennifer, 2011. "What Explains the German Labor Market Miracle in the Great Recession?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8520, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8520
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8520
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jens Boysen-Hogrefe & Dominik Groll, 2010. "The German Labour Market Miracle," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 214(1), pages 38-50, October.
    2. Jordi Galí & Thijs van Rens, 2008. "The vanishing procyclicality of labor productivity," Economics Working Papers 1230, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2010.
    3. Alexander Herzog-Stein & Fabian Lindner & Simon Sturn & Till van Treeck, 2010. "Vom Krisenherd zum Wunderwerk?," IMK Report 56-2010, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    4. Treadway, Arthur B., 1970. "Adjustment costs and variable inputs in the theory of the competitive firm," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 329-347, December.
    5. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan N. Houseman, 1993. "Job Security in America: Lessons from Germany," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number kagsnh1993, january-j.
    6. Michael C. Burda & Michael Kvasnicka, 2006. "Zeitarbeit in Deutschland: Trends und Perspektiven," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 7(2), pages 195-225, May.
    7. Boeri, Tito & Burda, Michael & Kramarz, Francis (ed.), 2008. "Working Hours and Job Sharing in the EU and USA: Are Europeans Lazy? Or Americans Crazy?," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199231027.
    8. George A. Akerlof & Andrew K. Rose & Janet L. Yellen & Helga Hessenius, 1991. "East Germany in from the Cold: The Economic Aftermath of Currency Union," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 1-106.
    9. Tito Boeri & Herbert Bruecker, 2011. "Short-time work benefits revisited: some lessons from the Great Recession [‘Reversed roles? Wage and employment effects of the current crisis’]," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 26(68), pages 697-765.
    10. Khan, Aubhik & Thomas, Julia K., 2003. "Nonconvex factor adjustments in equilibrium business cycle models: do nonlinearities matter?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 331-360, March.
    11. Michael C. Burda & Mark Weder, 2016. "Payroll Taxes, Social Insurance, and Business Cycles," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 438-467.
    12. Jennifer Hunt, 1999. "Has Work-Sharing Worked in Germany?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 117-148.
    13. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Gerard A. Pfann, 1996. "Adjustment Costs in Factor Demand," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1264-1292, September.
    14. Jennifer Hunt, 1998. "Hours Reductions as Work-Sharing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 339-381.
    15. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1989. "Labor Demand and the Structure of Adjustment Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 674-689, September.
    16. Hermann Gartner & Sabine Klinger, 2010. "Verbesserte Institutionen für den Arbeitsmarkt in der Wirtschaftskrise," Wirtschaftsdienst, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 90(11), pages 728-734, November.
    17. Sabine Klinger & Thomas Rothe, 2012. "The Impact of Labour Market Reforms and Economic Performance on the Matching of the Short‐term and the Long‐term Unemployed," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 59(1), pages 90-114, February.
    18. René Fahr & Uwe Sunde, 2009. "Did the Hartz Reforms Speed‐Up the Matching Process? A Macro‐Evaluation Using Empirical Matching Functions," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(3), pages 284-316, August.
    19. Michael W. L. Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2010. "The Labor Market in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 1-69.
    20. Christian Dustmann & Johannes Ludsteck & Uta Schönberg, 2009. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 843-881.
    21. Seifert, Hartmut, 2004. "Flexibility through working time accounts : reconciling economic efficiency and individual time requirements," WSI Working Papers 130, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans Böckler Foundation.
    22. Seifert, Hartmut & Herzog-Stein, Alexander, 2010. "Der Arbeitsmarkt in der Großen Rezession - Bewährte Strategien in neuen Formen," WSI-Mitteilungen, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, vol. 63(11), pages 551-559.
    23. Wolfgang Ochel, 2005. "Hartz IV – Welfare to Work in Germany," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 3(2), pages 18-25, 07.
    24. Sargent, Thomas J, 1978. "Estimation of Dynamic Labor Demand Schedules under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1009-1044, December.
    25. René Fahr & Uwe Sunde, 2009. "Did the Hartz Reforms Speed‐Up the Matching Process? A Macro‐Evaluation Using Empirical Matching Functions," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(3), pages 284-316, August.
    26. Zwiener, Rudolf & Logeay, Camille, 2008. "Deutliche Realeinkommensverluste für Arbeitnehmer: Die neue Dimension eines Aufschwungs," WSI-Mitteilungen, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, vol. 61(8), pages 415-422.
    27. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1996. "International Implications of German Unification," CEPR Discussion Papers 1508, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    28. Spitznagel, Eugen & Schaz, Philipp, 2010. "Makroökonomische Dynamik von Arbeitsmärkten. Ein Vergleich interner und externer Flexibilitäten in den USA und in Deutschland," WSI-Mitteilungen, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, vol. 63(12), pages 626-635.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Carrillo-Tudela, Carlos & Launov, Andrey & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2021. "The fall in german unemployment: A flow analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    2. Gehrke, Britta & Lechthaler, Wolfgang & Merkl, Christian, 2019. "The German labor market during the Great Recession: Shocks and institutions," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 192-208.
    3. Felix Hüfner & Caroline Klein, 2012. "The German Labour Market: Preparing for the Future," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 983, OECD Publishing.
    4. Kohlbrecher, Britta & Merkl, Christian & Nordmeier, Daniela, 2016. "Revisiting the matching function," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 350-374.
    5. Dietz, Martin & Stops, Michael & Walwei, Ulrich, 2012. "Securing Jobs in Times of Recession. The German Experience during the Financial Crisis 2008/2009/Asegurando los puestos de trabajo en tiempos de recesión. La experiencia alemana durante la crisis fina," Estudios de Economia Aplicada, Estudios de Economia Aplicada, vol. 30, pages 59-100, Abril.
    6. Lea Immel, 2021. "The Impact of Labor Market Reforms on Income Inequality: Evidence from the German Hartz Reforms," ifo Working Paper Series 347, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    7. Beissinger, Thomas & Chusseau, Nathalie & Hellier, Joël, 2015. "Offshoring and Labour Market Reforms: Modelling the German Experience," IZA Discussion Papers 8920, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Marco Caliendo & Jens Hogenacker, 2012. "The German labor market after the Great Recession: successful reforms and future challenges," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-24, December.
    9. Robert G. King & Julia K. Thomas, 2006. "Partial Adjustment Without Apology," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(3), pages 779-809, August.
    10. Michael Stops, 2016. "Revisiting German labour market reform effects—a panel data analysis for occupational labour markets," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-43, December.
    11. Giannelli, Gianna Claudia & Jaenichen, Ursula & Rothe, Thomas, 2013. "Doing Well in Reforming the Labour Market? Recent Trends in Job Stability and Wages in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 7580, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Jung, Sven, 2013. "Employment Adjustment in German Firms," VfS Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79696, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Joachim Möller, 2015. "Did the German Model Survive the Labor Market Reforms? [Hat das Modell Deutschland die Arbeitsmarktreformen überlebt?]," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 48(2), pages 151-168, August.
    14. Wolfgang Nagl, 2014. "Lohnrisiko und Altersarmut im Sozialstaat," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 54.
    15. Jung, Sven, 2012. "Employment adjustment in German firms," Discussion Papers 80, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    16. Gianna C. Giannelli & Ursula Jaenichen & Thomas Rothe, 2016. "The evolution of job stability and wages after the implementation of the Hartz reforms [Die Entwicklung von Beschäftigungsstabilität und Löhnen seit Einführung der Hartz-Reformen]," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 49(3), pages 269-294, November.
    17. Beissinger, Thomas & Chusseau, Nathalie & Hellier, Joël, 2016. "Offshoring and labour market reforms in Germany: Assessment and policy implications," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 314-333.
    18. Boll, Christina & Boysen-Hogrefe, Jens & Wolf, André, 2017. "Wie viel Soziale Marktwirtschaft steckt in den Wahlprogrammen zur Bundestagswahl 2017?," HWWI Policy Papers 105, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    19. S. Haincourt. & M. Mogliani., 2012. "Has the 2008-2009 recession increased the structural share of unemployment in the euro area?," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 25, pages 63-80, Spring.
    20. Carmen Camacho & Fabio Mariani & Luca Pensieroso, 2017. "Illegal immigration and the shadow economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(6), pages 1050-1080, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    extensive vs intensive employment margin; Germany; Great Recession; Hartz reforms; short time work; unemployment; working time accounts;
    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
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8520. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.