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Imposed Benefit Sanctions and the Unemployment-to-Employment Transition: The German Experience


  • Müller, Kai-Uwe

    () (DIW Berlin)

  • Steiner, Viktor

    () (Free University of Berlin)


We analyze the effect of imposed benefit sanctions on the unemployment-to-employment transition of unemployed people entitled to unemployment compensation on the basis of register data from the German Federal Employment Agency. We combine propensity score matching with a discrete-time hazard rate model which accounts for the dynamic nature of the treatment. We find positive short- and long-term effects of benefit sanctions which are robust for men and women in East and West Germany. The effects diminish with the elapsed unemployment duration until a sanction is imposed. The limited use of benefit sanctions can thus be an effective activation tool if they take place not too late in an individual’s unemployment spell.

Suggested Citation

  • Müller, Kai-Uwe & Steiner, Viktor, 2008. "Imposed Benefit Sanctions and the Unemployment-to-Employment Transition: The German Experience," IZA Discussion Papers 3483, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3483

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    1. repec:ces:ifodic:v:3:y:2005:i:2:p:14567650 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. Berg & Jan C. Ours, 2005. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance Sanctions on the Transition Rate from Unemployment to Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 602-630, July.
    3. Jan Boone & Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund & Jan C. van Ours, 2007. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Monitoring and Sanctions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(518), pages 399-421, March.
    4. Gerard J. van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw & Jan C. van Ours, 2004. "Punitive Sanctions and the Transition Rate from Welfare to Work," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 211-241, January.
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    6. Michael Lechner, 2000. "An Evaluation of Public-Sector-Sponsored Continuous Vocational Training Programs in East Germany," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 347-375.
    7. Marco Caliendo & Sabine Kopeinig, 2008. "Some Practical Guidance For The Implementation Of Propensity Score Matching," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 31-72, February.
    8. Gerard J. van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw, 2005. "Job Search Monitoring and Sanctions," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 3(2), pages 26-29, 07.
    9. Schneider, Julia, 2008. "The effect of unemployment benefit II sanctions on reservation wages," IAB Discussion Paper 200819, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    10. Sophia Rabe-Hesketh & Anders Skrondal & Andrew Pickles, 2004. "GLLAMM Manual," U.C. Berkeley Division of Biostatistics Working Paper Series 1160, Berkeley Electronic Press.
    11. Kai-Uwe Müller, 2007. "Individual and regional determinants of receiving unemployment benefit sanctions in Germany," AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv, Springer;Deutsche Statistische Gesellschaft - German Statistical Society, vol. 1(3), pages 275-286, December.
    12. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1491-1517, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tom Krebs & Martin Scheffel, 2016. "Structural Reform in Germany," IMF Working Papers 16/96, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Krebs, Tom & Scheffel, Martin, 2016. "Quantifizierung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Effekte ausgewählter Reformvorschläge der Studie "Reforms, Investment and Growth: An Agenda for France, Germany and Europe"," Working Papers 16-04, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    3. Busk, Henna, 2016. "Sanctions and the exit from unemployment in two different benefit schemes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 159-176.
    4. Hofmann Barbara, 2012. "Short- and Long-term Ex-Post Effects of Unemployment Insurance Sanctions: Evidence from West Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 232(1), pages 31-60, February.

    More about this item


    benefit sanctions; unemployment transitions; German labor market reform; ex-post evaluation; propensity score matching; hazard rate model; unobserved heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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