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Was muten sich Arbeitslose zu?



"The paper examines wage requirements of recipients of Unemployment Benefit II (ALG II), taking up former evaluations by Christensen on wage demands of the unemployed in Germany. Unlike Christensen, we did not base our analyses on the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Instead, we used the cross-sectional data provided by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in a survey focused on the living conditions and social security aspects ('Lebenssituation und soziale Sicherung') of recipients of ALG II, carried out at an early stage after the reform of unemployment benefit and social assistance in Germany. We were especially interested in finding out whether the unemployed have become more prepared to reduce their wage demands since the introduction of the German Social Code II (SGB II) compared to the period up to 2000 (cf. Christensen). To do so, we particularly investigated the ratio between wages paid before unemployment and reservation wages, the dependency of this ratio on the duration of unemployment as well as the factors determining the reservation wage level. Analyses of the most recent IAB survey of ALG II recipients demonstrate that the preparedness to accept lower wages has not (yet) increased significantly since the introduction of SGB II. Descriptive results show that the reservation wage level tends to be independent of the recipient's current employment status. Instead, the wage level demanded is rather determined by whether the recipient lives on his or her own or in a multiparty household. The indicated reservation wage level increases with the number of children in the household. Taking the Reservation Wage Ratio (RWR) as a basis as in Christensen's study, it emerges that respondents state they are prepared to accept employment only on provision of a net hourly wage rate increase of 13% on average compared to that previous to unemployment. Another outcome is that the RWR does not decrease in line with the duration of unemployment. Recipients' personal circumstances are also fundamental to the reservation wage level in the multivariate estimations, the wage received before unemployment being the most significant indicator. The present results must be considered preliminary for two reasons: firstly, there is still potential for more detail in the multivariate analyses. Secondly, due to initial difficulties in implementing the new SGB II-based legislation on the part of the responsible bodies, it is unlikely that the available data as yet fully reflect the impacts of the reform, in particular with respect to indications on reservation wages. Ultimately, we will only be in a position to learn more about the preparedness of ALG II recipients to reduce wage requirements when we have access to data on the issues in focus over a sequence of several years, which is planned by the IAB." (Autorenreferat, IAB-Doku)

Further information


Bibliographical information

Bender, Stefan; Koch, Susanne; Meßmann, Susanne; Walwei, Ulrich (2007): Was muten sich Arbeitslose zu? * Lohnkonzessionen von ALG-II-Empfängern. (IAB-Discussion Paper, 23/2007), Nürnberg, 40 p.