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Title:Escaping the unemployment trap: the case of East Germany PDF Logo
Authors:Merkl, Christian
Snower, Dennis J.
Issue Date:2008
Series/Report no.:IZA Discussion Papers 3681
Abstract:This paper addresses the question of why high unemployment rates tend to persist even after their proximate causes have been reversed (e.g., after wages relative to productivity have fallen). We suggest that the longer people are unemployed, the greater is their cumulative likelihood of falling into a low-productivity trap, through the attrition of skills and work habits. We develop a model along these lines, which allows us to bridge the gap between high macroeconomic employment persistence versus relatively high microeconomic labor market flow numbers. We calibrate the model for East Germany and examine the effectiveness of three employment policies in this context: (i) a weakening of workers' position in wage negotiations due to a drop in the replacement rate or firing costs, leading to a fall in wages, (ii) hiring subsidies, and (iii) training subsidies. We show that the employment effects of these policies depend crucially on whether low-productivity traps are present.
Subjects:Labor market
labor market trap
East Germany
JEL:E24
Persistent Identifier of the first edition:urn:nbn:de:101:1-2008092954
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:Publikationen von Forscherinnen und Forschern des IfW
IZA Discussion Papers, Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA)

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