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Inhaltsbereich: Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung

Safeguarding jobs in times of crisis



In spite of a hefty economic slump as a result of the global financial and economic crisis, the German labour market has managed by international comparison to hold its ground. In the country report, the question was pursued as to how such a 'job miracle' in Germany had been possible, in a country that had for a long time been seen as the 'ill man of Europe'. To do this, the effects of the economic crisis on the German labour market were studied at the regional and sectoral levels, as well as at the level of forms of employment. Of central importance, along with measures to flexibilize working time, are in-house alliances and the use of short-time work. The fact that the shortening of working time was accompanied by a reduction in productivity, both per working hour and also per head, is interpreted as being an indication of labour hoarding. The study examines why establishments decide in favour of labour hoarding and internal flexibilization, and asks what the undesirable side-effects of internal flexibilization are. Here employers, employees, social partners and the government were all pursuing the common aim of safeguarding jobs and, in doing so, were accommodating the subsidiarity principle. Instruments of passive and active labour market policy also played an important accompanying role. To conclude: the German job miracle can be explained by a combination of favourable starting conditions, the special structure of the economic crisis, effective counter measures, and favourable labour market policy framework conditions. (IAB)


Bibliographical information

Dietz, Martin; Stops, Michael; Walwei, Ulrich (2011): Safeguarding jobs in times of crisis : lessons from the German experience. (International Institute for Labour Studies. Discussion paper, 207), Genf, 67 p.