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Another Economic Miracle? The German Labor Market and the Great Recession

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Listed:
  • Rinne, Ulf

    () (IZA)

  • Zimmermann, Klaus F.

    (University of Bonn)

Abstract

The mild response of the German labor market to the worst global recession in post-war history appears as an economic miracle. In response to the crisis, Germany has shown to be a strong case of internal flexibility. We argue that important factors that have contributed to this development include the strong position of the German economy due to recent labor market reforms, the nature of the crisis affecting mainly export-oriented companies in Germany, the extension of short-time work, the behavior of social partners, and automatic stabilizers. Among these factors, we emphasize the key role of the interaction between short-time work and long-term shortages of skilled workers in sectors and regions that were particularly affected by the crisis. Although the German experience is in stark contrast to that in the United States, we identify and discuss three challenges that will be at the center of debate on both sides of the Atlantic in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Rinne, Ulf & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2011. "Another Economic Miracle? The German Labor Market and the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 6250, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6250
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olga Bohachova & Bernhard Boockmann & Claudia M. Buch, 2011. "Labor Demand During the Crisis: What Happened in Germany?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3625, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas, 2012. "Automatic stabilizers and economic crisis: US vs. Europe," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 279-294.
    3. Alan B. Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1997. "Observations and Conjectures on the U.S. Employment Miracle," NBER Working Papers 6146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Karl BRENKE & Ulf RINNE & Klaus F. ZIMMERMANN, 2013. "Short-time work: The German answer to the Great Recession," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 152(2), pages 287-305, June.
    5. Olivier Bargain & Herwig Immervoll & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2012. "Distributional consequences of labor-demand shocks: the 2008–2009 recession in Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 118-138, February.
    6. Werner Eichhorst & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2007. "And Then There Were Four...How Many (and Which) Measures of Active Labor Market Policy Do We Still Need?," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 53(3), pages 243-272.
    7. Eichhorst, Werner & Marx, Paul, 2009. "Reforming German Labor Market Institutions: A Dual Path to Flexibility," IZA Discussion Papers 4100, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Cahuc, Pierre & Carcillo, Stéphane, 2011. "Is Short-time Work a Good Method to Keep Unemployment Down?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8214, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Christophe Hachon, 2010. "Do Beveridgian pension systems increase growth?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(2), pages 825-831, March.
    10. Eichhorst, Werner & Grienberger-Zingerle, Maria & Konle-Seidl, Regina, 2006. "Activation Policies in Germany: From Status Protection to Basic Income Support," IZA Discussion Papers 2514, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Giersch,Herbert & Paqué,Karl-Heinz & Schmieding,Holger, 1994. "The Fading Miracle," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521358699.
    12. Schneider, Hilmar & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2010. "Agenda 2020: Strategies to Achieve Full Employment in Germany," IZA Policy Papers 15, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic crisis; Germany; short-time work; unemployment; labor market institutions; internal flexibility;

    JEL classification:

    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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