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What Explains the Decline in Wage Mobility in the German Low-Wage Sector?

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  • Aretz, Bodo

    (German Council of Economic Experts)

  • Gürtzgen, Nicole

    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)

Abstract

In this paper, we study how wage mobility in the low-wage sector has changed in western Germany between 1984 and 2004. Using German individual register data, we document a clear upward trend in the persistence of low-wage employment for both men and women. Next to compositional shifts of the low-wage sector relative to the high-wage sector, this trend may be explained by an increase in "genuine" state dependence, which occurs if low-wage employment today causes low-wage employment in the future for reasons of, e.g., stigmatization or human capital depreciation. To isolate the latter, we model low-pay transitions by estimating a series of multivariate probit models. We address the initial conditions problem and the endogeneity of earnings attrition in our estimation approach by accounting for the selection into low-wage employment and earnings retention. Our findings for men and women point to an upward trend of genuine state dependence among low-paid workers especially since the beginning of the 1990s. Using decomposition techniques, we show that between 35 and 54 per cent of the increase in genuine state dependence during the 1990s is accounted for by compositional effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Aretz, Bodo & Gürtzgen, Nicole, 2012. "What Explains the Decline in Wage Mobility in the German Low-Wage Sector?," IZA Discussion Papers 7046, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7046
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    Cited by:

    1. Schnitzlein, Daniel D. & Stephani, Jens, 2016. "Locus of Control and low-wage mobility," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 164-177.
    2. Aretz, Bodo, 2013. "Gender differences in German wage mobility," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-003, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    3. Alexander Mosthaf & Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel, 2014. "Low-wage employment versus unemployment: Which one provides better prospects for women?," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-17, December.
    4. Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Schnabel, Isabel & Truger, Achim & Wieland, Volker, 2019. "Den Strukturwandel meistern. Jahresgutachten 2019/20," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201920.
    5. Coban, Mustafa, 2017. "Wage mobility, wage inequality, and tasks: Empirical evidence from Germany, 1984-2014," Discussion Paper Series 139, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    6. Franz, Wolfgang, 2013. "Die Arbeitsmarktanalyse in der wirtschaftspolitischen Beratung des Sachverständigenrates," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-074, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    7. Stephani, Jens, 2013. "Does it matter where you work? : employer characteristics and the wage growth of low-wage workers and higher-wage workers," IAB Discussion Paper 201304, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    wage mobility; trivariate probit; administrative data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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