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Are the Number of Skilled Workers Running Out in Germany? The (Non)-Consequences of Demographic Change

  • Alfred Garloff

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  • Rüdiger Wapler
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    Two stylised facts of the German labour market are that first, the demand for (high-)skilled labour has been growing rapidly for a number of years and second, the country is facing a particularly strong demographic change with the expected size of the population decreasing rapidly and the average age of the labour force increasing sharply. This has led to a widely discussed fear of ``labour-market shortages' whereby employers simply cannot find ``enough' workers because many more are retiring than younger cohorts are entering. Although there is a simple logic in this argument, it is not beyond doubt, because firstly it is neither clear whether the labour demand side could not counteract this effect nor secondly to which precise situation the description ``shortage' actually refers to. We address both issues from a theoretical and empirical perspective. We find no evidence that a high number of retirees across occupations leads to a higher demand for younger workers. Instead, to a large extent, retirees seem to be ``replaced', if they are replaced at all, by middle-aged cohorts who change occupations.

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    File URL: http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa13/ERSA2013_paper_00854.pdf
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    Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa13p854.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa13p854
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    1. Ayşegül Şahin & Joseph Song & Giorgio Topa & Giovanni L. Violante, 2012. "Mismatch Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 18265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Knoppik, Christoph & Beissinger, Thomas, 2005. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity in Europe: An Analysis of European Micro Data from the ECHP 1994-2001," University of Regensburg Working Papers in Business, Economics and Management Information Systems 402, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics.
    3. Prettner, Klaus & Bloom, David E. & Strulik, Holger, 2012. "Declining Fertility and Economic Well-Being: Do Education and Health Ride to the Rescue?," IZA Discussion Papers 6527, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Michael C. Burda & Jennifer Hunt, 2011. "What Explains the German Labor Market Miracle in the Great Recession?," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-031, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    5. Garloff, Alfred & Pohl, Carsten & Schanne, Norbert, 2011. "Do small labor market entry cohorts reduce unemployment?," IAB Discussion Paper 201118, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    6. Mahlberg, Bernhard & Freund, Inga & Crespo Cuaresma, Jesús & Prskawetz, Alexia, 2013. "Ageing, productivity and wages in Austria," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 5-15.
    7. Willems, E. J. T. A. & de Grip, A., 1993. "Forecasting replacement demand by occupation and education," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 173-185, August.
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