IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Escaping the Unemployment Trap: The Case of East Germany

  • Merkl, Christian

    ()

    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Snower, Dennis J.

    ()

    (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)

This paper addresses the question of why high unemployment rates tend to persist even after their proximate causes have been reversed (e.g., after wages relative to productivity have fallen). We suggest that the longer people are unemployed, the greater is their cumulative likelihood of falling into a low-productivity "trap," through the attrition of skills and work habits. We develop a model along these lines, which allows us to bridge the gap between high macroeconomic employment persistence versus relatively high microeconomic labor market flow numbers. We calibrate the model for East Germany and examine the effectiveness of three employment policies in this context: (i) a weakening of workers’ position in wage negotiations due to a drop in the replacement rate or firing costs, leading to a fall in wages, (ii) hiring subsidies, and (iii) training subsidies. We show that the employment effects of these policies depend crucially on whether low-productivity traps are present.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp3681.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3681.

as
in new window

Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Comparative Economics, 2008, 36 (4), 542-556
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3681
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2000. "Germany's Economic Unification: An Assessment after Ten Years," NBER Working Papers 7586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lommerud, K.E. & Sandvik, B. & Straume, O.R., 2001. "Good Jobs, Bad Jobs and Redistribution," Norway; Department of Economics, University of Bergen 1401, Department of Economics, University of Bergen.
  3. Franz, Wolfgang & Steiner, Viktor, 1999. "Wages in the East German transition process: facts and explanations," ZEW Discussion Papers 99-40, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Michael Lechner & Conny Wunsch, 2007. "Active Labour Market Policy in East Germany: Waiting for the Economy to take off," Kiel Working Papers 1308, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  5. Jeremy I. Bulow & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy, Discrimination and Keynesian Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Christian Grund, 2006. "Severance payments for dismissed employees in Germany," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 49-71, July.
  7. Alessio J. G. Brown, & Christian Merkl & Dennis J. Snower, 2006. "Comparing the Effectiveness of Employment Subsidies," Kiel Working Papers 1302, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  8. J. Michael Orszag & Dennis Snower, 1999. "Youth unemployment and government policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 197-213.
  9. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2003. "Labour Demand in Germany: An Assessment of Non- Wage Labour Costs," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 154, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  10. Merkl, Christian & Snower, Dennis J., 2006. "The Caring Hand that Cripples: The East German Labour Market after Reunification," CEPR Discussion Papers 5656, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Taylor, Jim & Bradley, Steve, 1997. "Unemployment in Europe: A Comparative Analysis of Regional Disparities in Germany, Italy and the UK," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 221-45.
  12. Joachim Ragnitz, 2007. "Explaining the East German Productivity Gap ; The Role of Human Capital," Kiel Working Papers 1310, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  13. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," Working papers 427, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Ralf A. Wilke, 2005. "New Extimates of the Duration and Risk of Unemployment for West-Germany," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 125(2), pages 207-237.
  15. Hans-Werner Sinn & Frank Westermann, 2001. "Two Mezzogiornos," NBER Working Papers 8125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Jennifer Hunt, 2004. "Convergence and determinants of non-employment durations in Eastern and Western Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 249-266, 06.
  17. Dickens, William T & Lang, Kevin, 1985. "A Test of Dual Labor Market Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 792-805, September.
  18. Schnabel, Claus, 2005. "Gewerkschaften und Arbeitgeberverbände: Organisationsgrade, Tarifbindung und Einflüsse auf Löhne und Beschäftigung," Discussion Papers 34, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  19. Harald Uhlig, 2007. "Regional Labor Markets, Network Externalities and Migration: The Case of German Reunification," Kiel Working Papers 1311, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  20. Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln & Rima Izem, 2007. "Explaining the Low Labor Productivity in East Germany. A Spatial Analysis," Kiel Working Papers 1307, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  21. Decressin, Jorg & Fatas, Antonio, 1995. "Regional labor market dynamics in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1627-1655, December.
  22. Michael C. Burda & Jennifer Hunt, 2001. "From Reunification to Economic Integration: Productivity and the Labor Market in Eastern Germany," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 1-92.
  23. Burda, Michael C. & Fuchs-Schündeln, Nikola & Buch, Claudia M. & Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2006. "Factor reallocation in eastern Germany after reunification," Munich Reprints in Economics 19974, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  24. Lechner, Michael & Miquel, Ruth & Wunsch, Conny, 2005. "The curse and blessing of training the unemployed in a changing economy : the case of East Germany after unification," IAB Discussion Paper 200514, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  25. Weitzman, Marchin L, 1989. "A Theory of Wage Dispersion and Job Market Segmentation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(1), pages 121-37, February.
  26. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1995. "Staggering along: wages policy and investment support in East Germany," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 3(4), pages 403-426, December.
  27. David Gray, 2004. "Persistent Regional Unemployment Differentials Revisited," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(2), pages 167-176.
  28. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Peter Birch S¯rensen, 2004. "Labour Tax Reform, the Good Jobs and the Bad Jobs," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(1), pages 45-64, 03.
  29. Dickens, William T & Lang, Kevin, 1988. "The Reemergence of Segmented Labor Market Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 129-34, May.
  30. Snower, Dennis J. & Merkl, Christian, 2006. "The Caring Hand that Cripples: The East German Labor Market After Reunification (Detailed Version)," IZA Discussion Papers 2066, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  31. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1985. "Wages and Employment in a Segmented Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1115-41, November.
  32. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1988. "Fairness and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 44-49, May.
  33. J. Paul Elhorst, 2003. "The Mystery of Regional Unemployment Differentials: Theoretical and Empirical Explanations," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(5), pages 709-748, December.
  34. T. Ghilarducci & M. Lee, 2005. "Female Dual Labour Markets And Employee Benefits," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(1), pages 18-37, 02.
  35. Faini, Riccardo & Galli, Giampaolo & Gennari, Pietro & Rossi, Fulvio, 1997. "An empirical puzzle: Falling migration and growing unemployment differentials among Italian regions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 571-579, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3681. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.