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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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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. Bernd Fitzenberger & Alfred Garloff, 2008. "Unemployment, Labor Market Transitions, And Residual Wage Dispersion," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 55(5), pages 561-590, November.
  2. Robert Shimer, 2007. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 13421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Barlevy, Gadi, 2002. "The Sullying Effect of Recessions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 65-96, January.
  4. Stephen Machin & Alan Manning, 1998. "The Causes and Consequences of Long-Term Unemployment in Europe," CEP Discussion Papers dp0400, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Michael U. Krause & Thomas A. Lubik, 2010. "On-the-job search and the cyclical dynamics of the labor market," Working Paper 10-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  6. 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.).
  7. 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.
  8. Burda, Michael C & Wyplosz, Charles, 1993. "Gross Worker and Job Flows in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 868, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1984. "Matching, Turnover, and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 108-22, February.
  10. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Search Unemployment with On-the-Job Search," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 457-75, July.
  11. 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.
  12. 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).
  13. Schmidt, Christoph M, 1999. "Persistence and the German Unemployment Problem: Empirical Evidence on German Labour Market Flows," CEPR Discussion Papers 2057, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. 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).
  15. 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.
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