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On the Definition of Unemployment and its Implementation in Register Data: The Case of Germany


  • Kruppe, Thomas
  • Müller, Eva
  • Wichert, Laura
  • Wilke, Ralf A.


Unemployment information in individual level register data depends on institutional settings, administrative procedures and which registers are merged. In this paper we suggest different implementation strategies for common international and German legal unemployment definitions for the Sample of the Integrated Employment Biographies (IEBS). The IEBS belongs to a new generation of German merged register data that is more comprehensive than previous data sets. Our descriptive figures show large differences in the number of spells and the unemployment duration across implementations. This suggests that empirical results of labour market research are likely to depend on the underlying legal definition of unemployment and its implementation in this data.

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  • Kruppe, Thomas & Müller, Eva & Wichert, Laura & Wilke, Ralf A., 2007. "On the Definition of Unemployment and its Implementation in Register Data: The Case of Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-041, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5867

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Waller, Marie, 2007. "Do reported end dates of treatments matter for evaluation results? : an investigation based on the German integrated employment biographies sample," FDZ Methodenreport 200701_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    2. 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.
    3. Bernd Fitzenberger & Ralf A. Wilke, 2010. "Unemployment Durations in West Germany Before and After the Reform of the Unemployment Compensation System during the 1980s," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 336-366, August.
    4. Hummel, Elisabeth & Jacobebbinghaus, Peter & Kohlmann, Annette & Oertel, Martina & Wübbeke, Christina & Ziegerer, Manfred, 2005. "Stichprobe der Integrierten Erwerbsbiografien : IEBS 1.0, Handbuch-Version 1.0.0 (Integrated Employment Biographies Sample IEBS 1.0)," FDZ Datenreport. Documentation on Labour Market Data 200506_de, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
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    Cited by:

    1. Jürgen Schupp & Joachim R. Frick, 2010. "Multidisciplinary Household Panel Studies under Academic Direction," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 140, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
    2. Marco Caliendo & Armin Falk & Lutz C. Kaiser & Hilmar Schneider & Arne Uhlendorff & Gerard van den Berg & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2011. "The IZA Evaluation Dataset: towards evidence-based labor policy making," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(7), pages 731-752, October.
    3. Achim Schmillen & Joachim Möller, 2009. "Determinants of Lifetime Unemployment - A Micro Data Analysis with Censored Quantile Regressions," Working Papers 275, Leibniz Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies).
    4. Melanie Arntz & Simon Lo & Ralf Wilke, 2014. "Bounds analysis of competing risks: a non-parametric evaluation of the effect of unemployment benefits on migration," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 199-228, February.
    5. Kloß, Michael & Nagl, Wolfgang, 2013. "Unemployment compensation and unemployment duration - Evidence from the German Hartz IV reform," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79711, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Dorner, Matthias & Heining, Jörg & Jacobebbinghaus, Peter & Seth, Stefan, 2010. "Sample of Integrated Labour Market Biographies (SIAB) 1975-2008," FDZ Methodenreport 201009_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    7. Becker, Sebastian & Jahn, Elke, 2015. "Labor Market Signaling and Unemployment Duration: Evidence from Germany," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112981, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Wolfgang Nagl & Michael Weber, 2014. "Unemployment compensation and unemployment duration before and after the German Hartz IV reform," ifo Working Paper Series 186, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    9. Wolfgang Nagl & Michael Weber, 2016. "Stuck in a trap? Long-term unemployment under two-tier unemployment compensation schemes," ifo Working Paper Series 231, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    10. Ernst Fehr, 2009. "On The Economics and Biology of Trust," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, pages 235-266.
    11. Michaela Fuchs, 2016. "Unemployment decline in East Germany: the role of demography," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 36(2), pages 145-168, October.
    12. Fuchs, Michaela & Weyh, Antje, 2014. "Demography and unemployment in East Germany : how close are the ties?," IAB Discussion Paper 201426, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    13. Ralf Wilke, "undated". "Unemployment Duration in the United Kingdom: An Incomplete Data Approach," Discussion Papers 09/02, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.

    More about this item


    unemployment duration; merged administrative individual data; Germany; Stata;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access

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