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What Drives the Demand for Temporary Agency Workers?

Author

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  • Jahn, Elke J.

    (University of Bayreuth)

  • Bentzen, Jan

    (Aarhus School of Business)

Abstract

Temporary agency employment has grown steadily in most European countries over the past three decades as part of the general trend towards increased employment flexibility. Yet to this day, it remains an open question what drives the demand for temporary agency workers. The paper examines, first, whether the deregulation of temporary agency employment is responsible for the growth of the flexible staffing industry. Second, we investigate the cyclical behavior of temporary agency employment. Using monthly data for Germany covering the period 1973-2008, we show that the continuous liberalization of this sector is not responsible for the surge in temporary agency employment. Our analysis reveals, moreover, that temporary agency employment exhibits strong cyclical behavior and correlates with main economic indicators in real time. Since most European countries promoted the use of temporary agency employment in a similar way, we believe that our results may be interesting from an international perspective as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Jahn, Elke J. & Bentzen, Jan, 2010. "What Drives the Demand for Temporary Agency Workers?," IZA Discussion Papers 5333, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5333
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Neugart & Donald Storrie, 2006. "The emergence of temporary work agencies," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 137-156, January.
    2. Susan N. Houseman, 2001. "Why Employers Use Flexible Staffing Arrangements: Evidence from an Establishment Survey," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 149-170, October.
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    5. Marloes de Graaf-Zijl & Ernest E. Berkhout, 2007. "Temporary agency work and the business cycle," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 28(7), pages 539-556, October.
    6. Antoni, Manfred & Jahn, Elke J., 2006. "Do changes in regulation affect employment duration in temporary work agencies?," Discussion Papers 44, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    7. Carolyn J. Heinrich & Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske, 2009. "The Role of Temporary Help Employment in Low-Wage Worker Advancement," NBER Chapters, in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 399-436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Susan N. Houseman & Arne L. Kalleberg & George A. Erickcek, 2001. "The Role of Temporary Help Employment in Tight Labor Markets," Upjohn Working Papers 01-73, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
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    11. Boockmann, Bernhard & Hagen, Tobias, 2001. "The use of flexible working contracts in West Germany: evidence from an establishment panel," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-33, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    12. Susan N. Houseman & Arne L. Kalleberg & George A. Erickcek, 2003. "The Role of Temporary Agency Employment in Tight Labor Markets," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(1), pages 105-127, October.
    13. Jahn, Elke J., 2008. "Reassessing the Wage Penalty for Temps in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3663, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Manfred Antoni & Elke J. Jahn, 2009. "Do Changes in Regulation Affect Employment Duration in Temporary Help Agencies?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 62(2), pages 226-251, January.
    15. de Groot, E.A. & Franses, Ph.H.B.F., 2005. "Real time estimates of GDP growth," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 2005-01, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gunther Tichy, 2014. "Flexicurity – ein an seiner Umsetzung scheiterndes Konzept," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 87(8), pages 537-553, August.
    2. Jahn, Elke Jutta & Rosholm, Michael, 2015. "The Cyclicality of the Stepping Stone Effect of Temporary Agency Employment," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113117, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Elke Jahn & Enzo Weber, 2016. "The effect of temporary help jobs on employment volatility," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 49(1), pages 412-427, February.
    4. Alejandro Micco & Pablo Muñoz-Henríquez, 2018. "The Impact of Extended Employment Protection Laws on the Demand for Temporary Agency Workers," Working Papers wp463, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    5. Ferreira Sequeda, M.T. & de Grip, A. & van der Velden, R.K.W., 2015. "Does on-the-job informal learning in OECD countries differ by contract duration?," ROA Research Memorandum 008, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
    6. Smirnykh, Larisa & Wörgötter, Andreas, 2013. "Why Do Russian Firms Use Fixed-Term and Agency Work Contracts?," IZA Policy Papers 54, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Burkert, Carola & Garloff, Alfred & Lepper, Timo, 2014. "Arbeitnehmerüberlassung in Hessen: Sprungbrett in reguläre Beschäftigung, Vermeidung von Arbeitslosigkeit oder gefangen in der Leiharbeitsfalle?," IAB-Regional. Berichte und Analysen aus dem Regionalen Forschungsnetz. IAB Hessen 201401, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    8. Henna Busk & Christine Dauth & Elke J. Jahn, 2017. "Do Changes in Regulation Affect Temporary Agency Workers’ Job Satisfaction?," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 514-544, July.
    9. Baudy, Philipp & Cords, Dario, 2016. "Deregulation of temporary agency employment in a unionized economy: Does this really lead to a substitution of regular employment?," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 06-2016, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    10. Smirnych, L. I. & Wörgötter, Andreas, 2016. "The importance of institutional and organizational characteristics for the use of fixed-term and agency work contracts in Russia," ECON WPS - Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 09/2016, TU Wien, Institute of Statistics and Mathematical Methods in Economics, Economics Research Unit.
    11. Jahn, Elke J. & Pozzoli, Dario, 2013. "The pay gap of temporary agency workers — Does the temp sector experience pay off?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 48-57.
    12. Oskar Jost, 2022. "See you soon: fixed-term contracts, unemployment and recalls in Germany—a linked employer–employee analysis," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 601-626, August.
    13. Genevieve Knight & Zhang Wei, 2015. "Isolating the Determinants of Temporary Agency Worker Use by Firms: An Analysis of Temporary Agency Workers in Australian Aged Care," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 18(2), pages 205-237.
    14. Jennifer Ferreira, 2016. "The German temporary staffing industry: growth, development, scandal and resistance," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 117-143, March.
    15. Andersson Joona, Pernilla & Wadensjö, Eskil, 2012. "A Price for Flexibility? The Temp Agency Wage Gap in Sweden 1998-2008," IZA Discussion Papers 6587, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Neumann, Uwe, 2017. "Temporary agency employment in Germany: A strategic "buffer" for firms and regions in the crisis?," Ruhr Economic Papers 727, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    17. Ferreira, Maria & de Grip, Andries & van der Velden, Rolf, 2018. "Does informal learning at work differ between temporary and permanent workers? Evidence from 20 OECD countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 18-40.
    18. Chen, Kuan-Jen & Lai, Ching-Chong & Lai, Ting-Wei, 2016. "The Division of Temporary and Permanent Employment and Business Cycle Fluctuations," MPRA Paper 72078, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    business cycle; temporary agency employment; labor law; regulation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

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