IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Evolution of Wage Mobility in the German Low-Wage Sector - Is There Evidence for Increasing State Dependence?


  • Aretz, Bodo
  • Gürtzgen, Nicole


In this paper, we study how wage mobility in the low-wage sector has changed in Western Germany between 1984 and 2004. Using German individual register data, we document a clear upward trend in the persistence of low-wage employment for both men and women. To explore whether the observed rise in persistence is accounted for by an increase in "genuine" state dependence or by compositional shifts of the low-wage sector, we model low-pay transitions by estimating a series of multivariate probit models. To address the initial conditions problem and the endogeneity of earnings attrition, our estimation approach accounts for the selection into low-wage employment and earnings retention. Using the estimates from the transition model, we determine the evolution of genuine state dependence which is defi ned as the average diff erence in low-pay transition probabilities conditional on being initially low and high paid, respectively. For men, our findings strongly argue against an upward trend of genuine state dependence, as the latter exhibits a fairly stationary development. This contrasts with women, whose evolution of genuine state dependence displays a slight upward trend.

Suggested Citation

  • Aretz, Bodo & Gürtzgen, Nicole, 2012. "The Evolution of Wage Mobility in the German Low-Wage Sector - Is There Evidence for Increasing State Dependence?," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62049, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc12:62049

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Cross-Country Inequality Trends," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages 121-149, February.
    2. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2006. "Calculation of multivariate normal probabilities by simulation, with applications to maximum simulated likelihood estimation," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 6(2), pages 156-189, June.
    3. Peter Gottschalk, 1997. "Inequality, Income Growth, and Mobility: The Basic Facts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 21-40, Spring.
    4. Dickens, Richard, 2000. "Caught in a Trap? Wage Mobility in Great Britain: 1975-1994," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(268), pages 477-497, November.
    5. Lorenzo Cappellari, 2007. "Earnings mobility among Italian low-paid workers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(2), pages 465-482, April.
    6. Lee, Sokbae & Wilke, Ralf A., 2009. "Reform of Unemployment Compensation in Germany: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis Using Register Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(2), pages 193-205.
    7. Bernd Fitzenberger & Aderonke Osikominu & Robert Völter, 2006. "Imputation Rules to Improve the Education Variable in the IAB Employment Subsample," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 126(3), pages 405-436.
    8. Omori, Yoshiaki, 1997. "Stigma Effects of Nonemployment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 394-416, April.
    9. Biewen, Martin & Steffes, Susanne, 2010. "Unemployment persistence: Is there evidence for stigma effects?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 188-190, March.
    10. Amanda Gosling & Stephen Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The Changing Distribution of Male Wages in the U.K," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 635-666.
    11. Moshe Buchinsky & Jennifer Hunt, 1999. "Wage Mobility In The United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 351-368, August.
    12. Christian Dustmann & Johannes Ludsteck & Uta Schönberg, 2009. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 843-881.
    13. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2004. "Modelling low income transitions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(5), pages 593-610.
    14. Kohn, Karsten, 2006. "Rising Wage Dispersion, After All ! The German Wage Structure at the Turn of the Century," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-031, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    15. Bauer, Thomas K. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 1999. "Report No. 3: Assessment of Possible Migration Pressure and its Labour Market Impact Following EU Enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe," IZA Research Reports 3, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2003. "Multivariate probit regression using simulated maximum likelihood," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(3), pages 278-294, September.
    17. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2004. "Modelling Low Pay Transition Probabilities, Accounting for Panel Attrition, Non-Response, and Initial Conditions," CESifo Working Paper Series 1232, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. Stewart, Mark B & Swaffield, Joanna K, 1999. "Low Pay Dynamics and Transition Probabilities," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(261), pages 23-42, February.
    19. Cappellari, Lorenzo, 2002. " Do the 'Working Poor' Stay Poor? An Analysis of Low Pay Transitions in Italy," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(2), pages 87-110, May.
    20. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-1381, September.
    21. Gernandt, Johannes, 2009. "Decreasing wage mobility in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-044, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    22. Ben Lockwood, 1991. "Information Externalities in the Labour Market and the Duration of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(4), pages 733-753.
    23. Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2010. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data Since 1937," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 91-128.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Aretz, Bodo & Gürtzgen, Nicole, 2012. "Was erklärt die zunehmende Persistenz von Niedriglohnbeschäftigung in Deutschland?," ZEW Wachstums- und Konjunkturanalysen, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, vol. 15(2), pages 8-9.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc12:62049. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.