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Sectoral Transformation, Turbulence, and Labor Market Dynamics in Germany

  • Ronald Bachmann

    ()

  • Michael C. Burda

    ()

The secular rise of European unemployment since the 1960s is hard to explain without reference to structural change. This is especially true in Germany, where industrial employment has declined by more than 30% and service sector employment has more than doubled over the past three decades. Using individual transition data onWest German workers, we document a marked increase in structural change and turbulence, in particular since 1990. Net employment changes resulted partly from an increase in gross flows, but also from an increase in the net transition “yield” at any given gross worker turnover. In growing sectors, net structural change was driven by accessions from nonparticipation rather than unemployment; contracting sectors reduced their net employment primarily via lower accessions from nonparticipation. While gross turnover is cyclically sensitive and strongly procyclical, net reallocation is countercyclical, meaning that recessions are associated with increased intensity of sectoral reallocation. Beyond this cyclical component, German reunification and Eastern enlargement appear to have contributed significantly to this accelerated pace of structural change.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0005.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0005
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  1. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel, 2005. "Unemployment in the OECD Since the 1960s. What Do We Know?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 1-27, 01.
  2. Burgess, Simon M, 1993. "A Model of Competition between Unemployed and Employed Job Searchers: An Application to the Unemployment Outflow Rate in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1190-204, September.
  3. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 1991. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284345, May.
  4. Jovanovic, Boyan & Moffitt, Robert, 1988. "An Estimate Of A Sectoral Model Of Labor Mobility," Working Papers 88-32, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  5. Abraham, Katharine G. & Katz, Lawrence F., 1986. "Cyclical Unemployment: Sectoral Shifts or Aggregate Disturbances?," Scholarly Articles 3442781, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. F. Vella & G. Moscarini, 2004. "Aggregate Worker Reallocation and Occupational Mobility in the United States: 1976-2000," 2004 Meeting Papers 183, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Rogerson, Richard, 1987. "An Equilibrium Model of Sectoral Reallocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 824-34, August.
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