Another Economic Miracle? The German Labor Market and the Great Recession

29 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2012

See all articles by Ulf Rinne

Ulf Rinne

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Klaus F. Zimmermann

Global Labor Organization (GLO); UNU-MERIT; Maastricht University, Department of Economics; Free University Berlin; University of Bonn; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Journal of Population Economics

Abstract

The mild response of the German labor market to the worst global recession in post-war history appears as an economic miracle. In response to the crisis, Germany has shown to be a strong case of internal flexibility. We argue that important factors that have contributed to this development include the strong position of the German economy due to recent labor market reforms, the nature of the crisis affecting mainly export-oriented companies in Germany, the extension of short-time work, the behavior of social partners, and automatic stabilizers. Among these factors, we emphasize the key role of the interaction between short-time work and long-term shortages of skilled workers in sectors and regions that were particularly affected by the crisis. Although the German experience is in stark contrast to that in the United States, we identify and discuss three challenges that will be at the center of debate on both sides of the Atlantic in the future.

Keywords: economic crisis, Germany, short-time work, unemployment, labor market institutions, internal flexibility

JEL Classification: J68, J21, P52, O57

Suggested Citation

Rinne, Ulf and Zimmermann, Klaus F., Another Economic Miracle? The German Labor Market and the Great Recession. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6250, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1981206

Ulf Rinne (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/profile?key=1844

Klaus F. Zimmermann

Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

Bonn
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://glabor.org/

UNU-MERIT ( email )

Keizer Karelplein 19
Maastricht, 6211TC
Netherlands

Maastricht University, Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

University of Bonn

Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Journal of Population Economics

Tiergartenstr. 17
D-69121 Heidelberg
Germany

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