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The Response of German Establishments to the 2008-2009 Economic Crisis


  • Lutz Bellmann

    (Institute for Employment Research)

  • Hans-Dieter Gerner

    (Institute for Employment Research)

  • Richard Upward

    (University of Nottingham)


We examine the response of a large panel of German establishments to the crisis in terms of their job flows (changes in employment) and consequent worker flows (hires, separations and layoffs). We analyse the extent to which job flows and worker flows at the establishment level are systematically related to institutional arrangements intended to promote flexibility such as Kurzarbeit (short-time work, STW) and Arbeitszeitkonten (working-time accounts, WTA). We find pronounced evidence of labour hoarding in the sense that labour productivity fell rapidly during the 2008-09 downturn, but we find no evidence that STW (or other policies) increased labour hoarding by reducing layoffs. This may well reflect the probable selection effects involved which are not accounted for by observable differences between STW and non- STW establishments. Nous examinons la réponse d'un large panel d'établissements allemands à la crise en termes de flux d'emplois (évolution de l'emploi) et de travailleurs qui en découlent (embauches, départs et licenciements). Nous analysons dans quelle mesure les flux d'emplois et les flux de travailleurs au niveau des établissements sont systématiquement liées aux arrangements institutionnels destinés à promouvoir la flexibilité comme le Kurzarbeit (chômage partiel, STW) et l’Arbeitszeitkonten (comptes épargne temps, WTA). Nous constatons un effet marqué de la rétention de main-d’oeuvre dans le sens où la productivité du travail a diminué rapidement pendant la récession de 2008-09, mais nous ne trouvons aucune indication que le chômage partiel (ou d'autres politiques) a augmenté la rétention de main-d’oeuvre en réduisant les licenciements. Cela pourrait bien reflèter les effets de sélection probables induits qui ne sont pas pris en compte par les différences observables entre les établissements ayants recours ou non au chômage partiel.

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  • Lutz Bellmann & Hans-Dieter Gerner & Richard Upward, 2012. "The Response of German Establishments to the 2008-2009 Economic Crisis," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 137, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:137-en

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    More about this item


    global financial crisis; short-time work;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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