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

  • Rinne, Ulf

    ()

    (IZA)

  • Zimmermann, Klaus F.

    ()

    (IZA and University of Bonn)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6250.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: IZA Journal of Labor Policy, 2012, 1:3, [Open Access] ; reprinted as ' 'Un altro miracolo economico? Il mercato del lavoro tedesco e la grande recessione' in: Diritto delle Relazioni Industriali, 2013, 23 (2), 401-423
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6250
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  1. Eichhorst, Werner & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2007. "And Then There Were Four... How Many (and Which) Measures of Active Labour Market Policy Do We Still Need?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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, vol. 19(1), pages 118-138, February.
  3. 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.
  4. Alan Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1997. "Observations and Conjectures on the U.S. Employment Miracle," Working Papers 769, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. Olga Bohachova & Bernhard Boockmann & Claudia M. Buch, 2011. "Labor Demand During the Crisis: What Happened in Germany?," IAW Discussion Papers 76, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  6. 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.
  7. Brenke, Karl & Rinne, Ulf & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2011. "Short-Time Work: The German Answer to the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 5780, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Christophe Hachon, 2010. "Do Beveridgian pension systems increase growth?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 825-831, March.
  9. Konle-Seidl, Regina & Eichhorst, Werner & Grienberger-Zingerle, Maria, 2007. "Activation policies in Germany : from status protection to basic income support," IAB Discussion Paper 200706, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  10. 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).
  11. 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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