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Perspectives on (Un-)Employment

The 12th international Ph.D. Workshop “Perspectives on (Un-)Employment” took place on January 23th and 24th 2020 at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB). The interdisciplinary workshop aimed to provide an opportunity for graduate students in labor economics and sociology to present their ongoing research and receive valuable feedback from senior scholars working at the frontiers of their disciplines.   

As every year, the latest cohort of the joint graduate programme of the IAB and the Department of Economics of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (GradAB) organized the Ph.D. Workshop. Among the highlights of the event were keynote speeches held by Professor Arne L. Kalleberg from the University of North Carolina and Professor David Card from the University of California at Berkeley. During the two days of the workshop, 26 doctoral students from universities and research institutes in Germany, France, Austria, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland and the USA presented their ongoing work.

Professor Bernd Fitzenberger, the director of the IAB, opened the first day of the conference with a welcome speech. Afterwards, Professor Arne Kalleberg gave a keynote lecture on “Precarious Work, Institutions and Inequality”. He showed how employment risks were shifted from firms to workers in many industrialized countries in recent decades. This shift of risks resulted in the spread of precarious work, which is leading to precarious lives for many. The participants of the workshop presented their work in three sessions on “Atypical Employment and Digitization”, “Unemployment”, and “Gender and Family”.
The first day of the conference ended with a data session about the various datasets offered by the IAB to the research community. After a presentation by Stefanie Wolter from the Research Data Centre (FDZ), the participants of the workshop had the opportunity to gather further information on different datasets of the IAB in five poster presentations. 

At the end of the first day of the workshop, the participants met for dinner at the restaurant „Zum Spießgesellen“, where they exchanged ideas alongside enjoying good Franconian food in a relaxed atmosphere.
Professor David Card opened the second day of the workshop with a keynote lecture on “Workers and Firms: Where Are We Now? Where Are We Going”. He summarized some of his recent work that shows how the sorting of high-wage workers to high-wage firms has increased over time and has contributed to the rise in wage inequality in countries such as Germany and Portugal. In addition, he gave an inspiring outlook about what kind of future work should be done in this area of labor economics. 

Afterwards, the doctoral students presented their compelling research in three sessions dealing with questions about the topics "Firms and Wages", "Education" and "Migration".
In the afternoon, the conference concluded with poster presentations of six young researchers from the GradAB programme, who discussed their research about the labour market with the international guests.


The 12th Ph.D. workshop offered new insights into current labor market research as well as the opportunity for lively discussions and interdisciplinary exchange. The organizing team would like to thank both keynote speakers, all presenters, the session chairs, and all other participants for their contributions.