Seminar Series: “Macroeconomics and Labor Market”

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We are pleased to invite you to the seminar series on “Macroeconomics and Labor Markets“ organized by the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Macroeconomics, and the Research Departments for Macroeconomic Labour Market Research of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB). Researchers of both institutions as well as national and international guests are presenting their current work at the intersection of labor and macro economics.

We start the winter term 2019/2020 with two seminars on Macroeconomics and Labor Markets next week:

In the first seminar on Tuesday, November 5th 2019 two IAB-colleagues will give shorter presentations on the following topics:

Hermann Gartner (IAB): “Did the German labour market reforms trade off efficiency against job quality?”


Christian Hutter (IAB): “Which Factors are behind Germany’s Labour Market Upswing?”

Place:  University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Lange Gasse 20, Room 3.166

Time:   12:00 – 1:30 pm


The second seminar in this week is on Friday, November 8th 2019:

Wolfgang Keller (University of Colorado): “International Trade and Job Polarization: Evidence at the Worker Level”

Place:  IAB, Regensburger Straße 100, Room E10

Time:   10:00 – 11:30 am


Please find below the abstracts of the three presentations:


“Did the German labour market reforms trade off efficiency against job quality?” (Gartner/Rothe/Weber)

We evaluate the quantity-quality trade-off on the labor market by estimating an augmented matching function weighting the matches by quality measures. We use the approach to evaluate the German labor market reforms conducted between 2003 and 2005. While we find a significant quantity-quality trade-off, even after controlling for job quality there remains a positive effect of reforms on the matching efficiency.


“Which Factors are behind Germany’s Labour Market Upswing?” (Hutter/Klinger/Trenkler/Weber)

The strong and sustained labour market upswing in Germany is widely recognized. In a developing literature, various relevant studies highlight different specific reasons. The underlying study, instead, simultaneously considers a broad set of factors in a unified methodological framework and systematically weighs the candidate reasons for the labour market upswing against each other on an empirical basis. The candidates are: shocks on (de)regulation of employment or job creation intensity, the efficiency of the matching process, wage determination, the separation propensity, the size of the labour force, technology, business cycle and working time. We develop a structural macroeconometric framework that leaves as many of the systematic interlinkages as possible for empirical determination while operating with a minimal set of restrictions in order to identify economically meaningful shocks. For this purpose, we combine short- and long-run restrictions based on search-and-matching theory and established assumptions on labour force development and technological change. Matching efficiency, job creation intensity, labour force, and separation propensity yield the largest contributions in explaining the German labour market upswing.


“International Trade and Job Polarization: Evidence at the Worker Level” (Keller/Hâle)

This paper examines the role of international trade for job polarization, where mid-wage occupations decline while employment opportunities of workers in both high- and low-wage occupations increase. With employer-employee matched data on virtually all workers and firms in Denmark between 1999 and 2009, we use instrumental-variables techniques and a quasi-natural trade liberalization experiment to show that import competition has been a significant cause of job polarization. Comparing import competition to other explanations of job polarization, import competition is quantitatively comparable to technical change as the most important alternative explanation of the hollowing out of middle-class jobs, and only import competition explains also the increase in employment opportunities in the high- and low-wage tails. Worker movement from exposed middle-class jobs up into high-wage or down into low-wage jobs is shaped by worker education and skill, and especially by task characteristics of the worker’s occupation. We find that manual tasks are central for the impact of trade because foreign workers compete against domestic workers, in contrast to technical progress which pits man versus machine.