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Before and After the Hartz Reforms: The Performance of Active Labour Market Policy in Germany

  • Jochen Kluve


  • Lena Jacobi


Having faced high unemployment rates for more than a decade, the German government implemented a comprehensive set of labour market reforms during the period 2003-2005. This paper describes the economic and institutional context of the German labour market before and after these so-called Hartz reforms.Focussing on active policy measures,we delineate the rationale for reform and its main principles.As results of programme evaluation studies post-reform have become available just now, we give a first assessment of the effectiveness of key elements of German ALMP before and after the Hartz reforms. The evidence indicates that the re-organisation of public employment services was mainly successful, with the exception of the outsourcing of services. Re-designing training programmes seems to have improved their effectiveness, while job creation schemes continue to be detrimental for participants’ employment prospects. Wage subsidies and start-up subsidies show significantly positive effects.On balance, therefore, the reform seems to be moving the German labour market in the right direction.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung in its series RWI Discussion Papers with number 0041.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:dpaper:0041
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  1. Lechner, Michael & Miquel, Ruth & Wunsch, Conny, 2005. "Long run Effects of Public Sector Sponsored Training in West Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 4851, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Lechner, Michael & Miquel, Ruth & Wunsch, Conny, 2005. "The Curse and Blessing of Training the Unemployed in a Changing Economy: The Case of East Germany After Unification," IZA Discussion Papers 1684, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Lechner, Michael, 1996. "An Evaluation of Public Sector Sponsored Continuous Vocational Training Programs in East Germany," Discussion Papers 539, Institut fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre und Statistik, Abteilung fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre.
  4. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Earnings and Employment Effects of Continuous Off-the-Job Training in East Germany after Unification," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(1), pages 74-90, January.
  5. Eva Reinowski & Birgit Schultz & Jürgen Wiemers, 2004. "Evaluation of Further Training Programmes with an Optimal Matching Algorithm," IWH Discussion Papers 188, Halle Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Bernd Fitzenberger & Stefan Speckesser, 2007. "Employment effects of the provision of specific professional skills and techniques in Germany," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 529-573, May.
  7. Eva Reinowski & Birgit Schultz & Jürgen Wiemers, 2003. "Evaluation von Maßnahmen der aktiven Arbeitsmarktpolitik mit Hilfe eines iterativen Matching-Algorithmus - Eine Fallstudie über langzeitarbeitslose Maßnahmeteilnehmer in Sachsen," IWH Discussion Papers 173, Halle Institute for Economic Research.
  8. Hujer, Reinhard & Thomsen, Stephan L. & Zeiss, Christopher, 2004. "The Effects of Vocational Training Programmes on the Duration of Unemployment in Eastern Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1117, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Eichler, Martin & Lechner, Michael, 2002. "An evaluation of public employment programmes in the East German State of Sachsen-Anhalt," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 143-186, April.
  10. Fertig, Michael & Kluve, Jochen, 2004. "A Conceptual Framework for the Evaluation of Comprehensive Labor Market Policy Reforms in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1099, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Annette Bergemann & Bernd Fitzenberger & Stefan Speckesser, 2009. "Evaluating the dynamic employment effects of training programs in East Germany using conditional difference-in-differences," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(5), pages 797-823.
  12. Marco Caliendo & Viktor Steiner, 2005. "Aktive Arbeitsmarktpolitik in Deutschland: Bestandsaufnahme und Bewertung der mikroökonomischen Evaluationsergebnisse," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 515, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  13. Franz, Wolfgang, 2000. "Neues von der NAIRU?," ZEW Discussion Papers 00-41, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  14. Pfeiffer, Friedhelm & Reize, Frank, 1998. "Business Start-ups by the Unemployed - an Econometric Analysis Based on Firm Data," ZEW Discussion Papers 98-38, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  15. Fertig, Michael & Kluve, Jochen, 2004. "A Conceptual Framework for the Evaluation of Comprehensive Labor Market Policy Reforms in Germany," RWI Discussion Papers 13, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI).
  16. repec:rwi:dpaper:0013 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Caliendo, Marco & Hujer, Reinhard & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2005. "The Employment Effects of Job Creation Schemes in Germany: A Microeconometric Evaluation," IZA Discussion Papers 1512, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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