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Labour Market Dynamics in Germany: Hirings, Separations, and Job-to-Job Transitions over the Business Cycle

  • Ronald Bachmann

In this paper, we provide a comprehensive overview of labour market dynamics in Western Germany by looking at gross worker flows. To do so, we use a subsample of the registry data collected by the German social security system, the IAB employment sample, for the time period 1975-2001. The latter provides daily information on 2% of the German workforce covered by social security legislation. Using these data, we are able to exactly calculate the number of transitions between the different labour market states, and between different employers over time. We first provide an overview of the cross-section and time series properties of these flows. We then study the cyclical features of gross worker flows, accessions, and separations. We find that separations are relatively flat over the cycle, while accessions are markedly procyclical, and that the increased flow into unemployment in a recession is mainly due to reduced hirings, and hence lower job-to-job transitions, rather than increased match separations. Our findings have important implications both for the way we view recessions and for the role of the labour market as a propagation mechanism for productivity shocks.

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File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2005-045.pdf
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Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2005-045.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2005-045
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  1. Davis, Steven J. & Faberman, R. Jason & Haltiwanger, John C., 2005. "The Flow Approach to Labor Markets: New Data Sources, Micro-Macro Links and the Recent Downturn," IZA Discussion Papers 1639, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1992. "Search Unemployment with on-the-job Search," CEP Discussion Papers dp0074, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1999. "The causes and consequences of longterm unemployment in Europe," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 47, pages 3085-3139 Elsevier.
  4. Schmidt, Christoph M., 1999. "The Heterogeneity and Cyclical Sensitivity of Unemployment: An Exploration of German Labor Market Flows," IZA Discussion Papers 84, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Krause, Michael U. & Lubik, Thomas A., 2007. "On-the-job search and the cyclical dynamics of the labor market," Working Paper Series 0779, European Central Bank.
  6. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  7. Gadi Barlevy, 2002. "The Sullying Effect of Recessions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 65-96.
  8. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1984. "Matching, Turnover, and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 108-22, February.
  9. Burda, Michael & Wyplosz, Charles, 1994. "Gross worker and job flows in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1287-1315, June.
  10. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Robert Shimer, 2012. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 127-148, April.
  12. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The cyclicality of hires, separations, and job-to-job transitions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 493-508.
  13. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Garloff, Alfred, 2005. "Unemployment, Labor Market Transitions, and Residual Wage Dispersion," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-04, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  14. Bruce Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman, 2004. "Employer-to-employer flows in the U.S. labor market: the complete picture of gross worker flows," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Schmidt, Christoph M., 1999. "Persistence and the German Unemployment Problem: Empirical Evidences on German Labor Market Flows," IZA Discussion Papers 31, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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