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Labor Market Reform and the Cost of Business Cycles

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  • Krebs, Tom
  • Scheffel, Martin

Abstract

This paper studies the effect of labor market reform on the welfare cost of business cycles. Motivated by the German labor market reforms of 2003-2005, the so-called Hartz reforms, the paper focuses on two labor market institutions: the unemployment insurance system determining search incentives and the system of job placement services affecting matching efficiency. The paper develops a tractable search model with idiosyncratic labor market risk and risk-averse workers, and derives a closed-form solution for the welfare cost of business cycles as a function of the various parameters of interest. An improvement in job placement services leads to a reduction in the welfare cost of business cycles, but a change in unemployment benefit generosity has in general an ambiguous effect. A quantitative analysis based on a calibrated version of the model suggests that the German labor market reforms of 2003-2005 reduced the non-cyclical unemployment rate by 3 percentage points and reduced the welfare cost of business cycles by 30 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Krebs, Tom & Scheffel, Martin, 2014. "Labor Market Reform and the Cost of Business Cycles," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100427, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc14:100427
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bruno Crépon & Esther Duflo & Marc Gurgand & Roland Rathelot & Philippe Zamora, 2013. "Do Labor Market Policies have Displacement Effects? Evidence from a Clustered Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 531-580.
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    11. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegul Sahin & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2009. "Revisiting the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(3), pages 393-402, July.
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    14. Tom Krebs & Martin Scheffel, 2013. "Macroeconomic Evaluation of Labor Market Reform in Germany," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 61(4), pages 664-701, December.
    15. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 2001. "The welfare cost of business cycles revisited: Finite lives and cyclical variation in idiosyncratic risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1311-1339.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Labor Market Reform and the Cost of Business Cycles
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2015-02-28 06:48:26

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Stops, 2016. "Revisiting German labour market reform effects—a panel data analysis for occupational labour markets," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-43, December.
    2. Gadatsch, Niklas & Stähler, Nikolai & Weigert, Benjamin, 2016. "German labor market and fiscal reforms 1999–2008: Can they be blamed for intra-euro area imbalances?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 307-324.
    3. Eleni Iliopulos & François Langot & Thepthida Sopraseuth, 2019. "Welfare Cost of Fluctuations When Labor Market Search Interacts with Financial Frictions," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 51(8), pages 2207-2237, December.
    4. Launov, Andrey & Wälde, Klaus, 2016. "The employment effect of reforming a public employment agency," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 140-164.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)

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