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Transitions in the German labor market: Structure and crisis

  • Krause, Michael U.
  • Uhlig, Harald

Since the so-called Hartz IV reforms around 2005 and during the global crisis of 2008/2009, the German labor market featured mainly declining unemployment rates. We develop a search and matching model with heterogeneous skills to explore the role of structural and cyclical policies for this performance. Calibrating unemployment benefits to approximate legislation before and after the reforms, we find a large reduction in unemployment and its duration, with the transition concluding after about three years. During the crisis, the extended use of short-time labor subsidies that prevent jobs from being destroyed is likely to have prevented strong increases in unemployment.

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Paper provided by Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre in its series Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies with number 2011,34.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdp1:201134
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  1. Wolfgang Ochel, 2005. "Hartz IV – Welfare to Work in Germany," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 3(2), pages 18-25, 07.
  2. Krebs, Tom & Scheffel, Martin, 2010. "A macroeconomic model for the evaluation of labor market reforms," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-050, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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  9. Christopher Pissarides, 2007. "The unemployment volatility puzzle: is wage stickiness the answer?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4460, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Fahr, René & Sunde, Uwe, 2009. "Did the Hartz Reforms Speed-Up the Matching Process? A Macro-Evaluation Using Empirical Matching Functions," Munich Reprints in Economics 20482, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  11. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  12. Cahuc, Pierre & Carcillo, Stéphane, 2011. "Is Short-time Work a Good Method to Keep Unemployment Down?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8214, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Juan C. Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 1999. "Social Security Reform with Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 757-795, October.
  14. den Haan, Wouter J. & Haefke, Christian & Ramey, Garey, 2004. "Turbulence and Unemployment in a Job Matching Model," IZA Discussion Papers 1403, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. James S. Costain & Michael Reiter, 2003. "Business cycles, unemployment insurance and the calibration of matching models," Economics Working Papers 872, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2006.
  16. Eichhorst, Werner & Marx, Paul, 2009. "Reforming German Labor Market Institutions: A Dual Path to Flexibility," IZA Discussion Papers 4100, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 2008. "Two Questions about European Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 1-29, 01.
  18. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 2007. "Understanding European unemployment with matching and search-island models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2139-2179, November.
  19. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  20. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
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