Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung

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Inhaltsbereich: Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung

Regional Labour Markets


Research Department

Research task

The disparities that can be observed in regional labour markets are distinct and of a lasting nature. There is a marked gradient between the eastern and the western parts of Germany as regards both the level of unemployment and wages. However, even within these parts of the country themselves, considerable disparities exist. For example, in the western part of Germany, along with areas which enjoy almost full employment, there are also some characterized by a deep crisis in the labour market.

The IAB set up the "Regional Labour Markets" research department and the "Regional Research Network" with the intention to explain these disparities and to understand how regional labour markets develop. By conducting regional analyses, results emerge that are at the same time of relevance to both the macroeconomic and the social context of the labour market. These results also serve the requirements of the Federal Employment Agency and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs with regard to policy advice on regional issues.

The key questions the "Regional Labour Markets" research department is facing are the following: What do the differences between the regional labour markets consist of? What has triggered these differences, and how do they develop? What form do interrelations between the individual regions take, and what effect do they have? In what way, and why do the effects of uniform institutional framework conditions differ in the way they affect different regions, and what influence do labour market and employment policies have on regional labour markets? How can regional mobility be explained, and what effects does the setting up of individual establishments elicit locally?

The theoretical interdisciplinary basis of the research department ranges from classical theories on location to the modern approaches of new regional economy. What is particularly interesting and demanding - from the point of view of methodology - is the connection between labour market actors and their regional social/economic environments. Here, methods of multi-level analysis and spatial econometrics are used.

It is an important task of the research department to offer the headquarters of the Federal Employment Agency and the Regional Directorates advice with regard to benchmarking and controlling. To this end, we carry out regular classifications of the agency and Jobcenter districts in order to be able to compare the impacts of labour market policy instruments against the backdrop of high levels of heterogeneity in the type of problems.

The IAB had actually assembled a working group on regional research long before the field was established as a separate research department in 2004, at a time when the increased need for research and policy advice was gradually being recognized. Headed by Uwe Blien since it has been set up, the Department is very closely linked to the IAB's Regional Research Network where its programme and communal projects are concerned and through the Regional Office from an organizational point of view. Further information on the structure, orientation and research perspectives of regional research at the IAB can be found in our basic research programme.


Projects of department

Staff members