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The Swiss "Job Miracle"

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Abstract

While Switzerland's recent growth of employment was high in historical and international perspective, the reasons for this "job miracle" were not well understood. As the "miracle" was not anticipated by economic forecasters, it consequently resulted in systematic and persistent forecast errors. This paper shows that the "miracle" is related to a substantial increase in the labor intensity of economic activity. To this end, we present a number of stylized facts reflecting shifts and structural changes that affected the Swiss economy around 2000. Then, we discuss potential drivers of the "miracle" which are consistent with these facts. Finally, we demonstrate how they contribute to understand why, during the last ten years, forecasters systematically underestimated the growth of domestic employment. Finally, we highlight that immigration was not only a consequence of the "miracle", but also an important cause, as it created additional jobs in Switzerland by raising local demand for goods and, most importantly, services.

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  • Michael Graff & Massimo Mannino & Michael Siegenthaler, 2014. "The Swiss "Job Miracle"," KOF Working papers 14-368, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:14-368
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3929/ethz-a-010703460
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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Ruffner & Michael Siegenthaler, 2016. "From Labor to Cash Flow? The Abolition of Immigration Restrictions and the Performance of Swiss Firms," KOF Working papers 16-424, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    2. Klaus Abberger & Andreas Dibiasi & Michael Siegenthaler & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2016. "The Effect of Policy Uncertainty on Investment Plans: Evidence from the Unexpected Acceptance of a Far-Reaching Referendum in Switzerland," CESifo Working Paper Series 5887, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Klaus Abberger & Andreas Dibiasi & Michael Siegenthaler & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2016. "The Effect of Policy Uncertainty on Investment Plans," KOF Working papers 16-406, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

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