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Start-Up Subsidies in East Germany: Finally, a Policy that Works?


  • Caliendo, Marco

    () (University of Potsdam)


The German government has spent between 7bn and 11bn Euro per year on active labor market policies (ALMP) in East Germany in the last decade. The effectiveness of the most important programs (in terms of participants and spending) such as job-creation schemes and vocational training has been evaluated quite thoroughly in recent years. The results are disappointing, indicating that nearly all of these ‘traditional’ programs have to be rated as a failure. In light of these findings, policies to encourage unemployed people to become self-employed gained increasing importance. We present first evidence on the effectiveness of two start-up programs in East Germany. Our findings – even though partly preliminary – are rather promising, showing that these programs increase employment chances and earnings of participants. Hence, start-up subsidies might work even in a labor market with structural problems such as the one in East Germany.

Suggested Citation

  • Caliendo, Marco, 2008. "Start-Up Subsidies in East Germany: Finally, a Policy that Works?," IZA Discussion Papers 3360, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3360

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
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    4. Marco Caliendo & Alexander Kritikos, 2010. "Start-ups by the unemployed: characteristics, survival and direct employment effects," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 71-92, July.
    5. Marco Caliendo & Alexander S. Kritikos, 2009. "Die reformierte Gründungsförderung für Arbeitslose - Chancen und Risiken," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(2), pages 189-213, May.
    6. Marco Caliendo & Viktor Steiner, 2005. "Aktive Arbeitsmarktpolitik in Deutschland: Bestandsaufnahme und Bewertung der mikroökonomischen Evaluationsergebnisse," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 515, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    7. Marco Caliendo & Reinhard Hujer, 2006. "The microeconometric estimation of treatment effects—An overview," AStA Advances in Statistical Analysis, Springer;German Statistical Society, vol. 90(1), pages 199-215, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Heyer, Gerd & Koch, Susanne & Stephan, Gesine & Wolff, Joachim, 2011. "Evaluation der aktiven Arbeitsmarktpolitik: Ein Sachstandsbericht für die Instrumentenreform 2011 (Evaluation of active labor market programs : a summary of recent results for the German program refor," IAB Discussion Paper 201117, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    3. Evers, Katalin & Schleinkofer, Michael, 2015. "Der Gründungszuschuss vor und nach der Reform : same, but different: Ein Vergleich der Teilnehmerstrukturen," IAB-Forschungsbericht 201505, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    4. Magnus Lofstrom, 2013. "Does self-employment increase the economic well-being of low-skilled workers?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 933-952, May.
    5. Hans J. Baumgartner & Marco Caliendo, 2008. "Turning Unemployment into Self-Employment: Effectiveness of Two Start-Up Programmes," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(3), pages 347-373, June.
    6. Marco Caliendo & Steffen Künn, 2015. "Getting back into the labor market: the effects of start-up subsidies for unemployed females," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 1005-1043, October.
    7. Caliendo, Marco, 2009. "Income Support Systems, Labor Market Policies and Labor Supply: The German Experience," IZA Discussion Papers 4665, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. L. Behrenz & L. Delander & J. Månsson, 2016. "Is Starting a Business a Sustainable way out of Unemployment? Treatment Effects of the Swedish Start-up Subsidy," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 389-411, December.
    9. Gerd Heyer & Susanne Koch & Gesine Stephan & Joachim Wolff, 2012. "Evaluation der aktiven Arbeitsmarktpolitik: Ein Sachstandsbericht für die Instrumentenreform 2011," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 45(1), pages 41-62, March.

    More about this item


    self-employment; East Germany; effectiveness; evaluation; start-up subsidies;

    JEL classification:

    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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