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From a source of weakness to a tower of strength?


  • Alexander Herzog-Stein
  • Fabian Lindner
  • Simon Sturn
  • Till van Treeck


Despite the biggest economic slump in Germany since the Second World War, employment did not decrease. In other European countries, which have even been hit less hard, employment started to decrease significantly. This 'employment miracle' is a result of the high internal flexibility of the German labour market, which resulted in a strong reduction of average working time in the downturn, and labour-hoarding by employers. Cyclical working time reduction saved some 1.1 million jobs, labour hoarding another 2 million. Working hours were reduced via short-time working schemes, working time accounts, and variations in working time at the company level. As these measures had nothing to do with the labour market reforms in the years before the crisis, there is also no direct impact of these reforms on the employment miracle. Also wage moderation, which has been fuelled by these labour market reforms, had no positive impact on the overall labour market performance of Germany.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Herzog-Stein & Fabian Lindner & Simon Sturn & Till van Treeck, 2010. "From a source of weakness to a tower of strength?," IMK Report 56e-2010, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:imk:report:56e-2010

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ilo:ilowps:470934 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Simon Sturn, 2011. "Labour market regimes and unemployment in OECD countries," IMK Working Paper 6-2011, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    3. van Treeck, Till. & Sturn, Simon., 2012. "Income inequality as a cause of the Great Recession? : A survey of current debates," ILO Working Papers 994709343402676, International Labour Organization.

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