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Macroeconomic Evaluation of Labor Market Reform in Germany

  • Tom Krebs
  • Martin Scheffel

In 2005 the German government implemented the so-called Hartz IV reform, which amounted to a complete overhaul of the German unemployment insurance system and resulted in a significant reduction in unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. In this paper, we use an incomplete-market model with search unemployment to evaluate the macro-economic and welfare effects of the Hartz IV reform. We calibrate the model economy to German data before the reform and then use the calibrated model economy to simulate the effects of Hartz IV. In our baseline calibration, we find that the reform has reduced the long-run (noncyclical) unemployment rate in Germany by 1.4 percentage points. We also find that the welfare of employed households increases, but the welfare of unemployed households decreases even with moderate degree of risk aversion.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 13/42.

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Length: 42
Date of creation: 13 Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/42
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  1. Rasmus Lentz, 2003. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in an Estimated Job Search Model with Savings," CAM Working Papers 2004-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  2. Landais, Camille & Michaillat, Pascal & Saez, Emmanuel, 2010. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 8132, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Krause, Michael U. & Uhlig, Harald, 2012. "Transitions in the German labor market: Structure and crisis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 64-79.
  4. Hopenhayn, H. & Nicolini, P.J., 1996. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," RCER Working Papers 421, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. Jochen Kluve & Lena Jacobi, 2006. "Before and After the Hartz Reforms: The Performance of Active Labour Market Policy in Germany," RWI Discussion Papers 0041, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
  6. Andrey Launov & Klaus Wälde, 2013. "Estimating Incentive And Welfare Effects Of Nonstationary Unemployment Benefits," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54, pages 1159-1198, November.
  7. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1995. "The European unemployment dilemma," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 95-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. Philip, Jung & Moritz, Kuhn, 2011. "The Era of the U.S.-Europe Labor Market Divide: What can we learn?," MPRA Paper 32322, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Addison, John T. & Centeno, Mario & Portugal, Pedro, 2008. "Unemployment Benefits and Reservation Wages: Key Elasticities from a Stripped-Down Job Search Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 3357, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Alvarez, Fernando & Stokey, Nancy L., 1998. "Dynamic Programming with Homogeneous Functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 167-189, September.
  11. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Hunt, Jennifer, 1995. "The Effect of Unemployment Compensation on Unemployment Duration in Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 88-120, January.
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  14. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1999. "Productivity Gains from Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 7352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Hansen, G.D. & Imrohoroglu, A., 1990. "The Role Of Unemployment Insurance In An Economy With Liquidity Constraints And Moral Hazard," Papers 21, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
  16. Fahr, René & Sunde, Uwe, 2009. "Did the Hartz Reforms Speed-Up the Matching Process? A Macro-Evaluation Using Empirical Matching Functions," Munich Reprints in Economics 20482, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  17. Streufert, Peter A, 1990. "Stationary Recursive Utility and Dynamic Programming under the Assumption of Biconvergence," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 79-97, January.
  18. Romain Bouis & Orsetta Causa & Lilas Demmou & Romain Duval & Aleksandra Zdzienicka, 2012. "The Short-Term Effects of Structural Reforms: An Empirical Analysis," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 949, OECD Publishing.
  19. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard vs. Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 13967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Jacobi, Lena & Kluve, Jochen, 2006. "Before and After the Hartz Reforms: The Performance of Active Labour Market Policy in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 2100, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Dirk Krüger, 2009. "Inequality Trends for Germany in the Last Two Decades: A Tale of Two Countries," MEA discussion paper series 09184, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  22. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Human Capital Risk And Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 709-744, May.
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  24. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "A Macroeconomic Theory of Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 16526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
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