Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Forschung

Strategic Hiring Behavior in Empirical Matching Functions


This paper makes two contributions to the empirical matching literature. First, a recent study by Anderson and Burgess (2000) testing for endogenous competition among job seekers in a matching frame-work, is replicated with a richer and more accurate data set for Germany. Their results are confirmed and found to be surprisingly robust. Second, the matching framework is augmented by endogenous strategic hiring behavior on the side of vacancy-posting firms. Neglecting job competition, the relevance of strategic hiring is shown using the same empirical strategy. At the same time, the test is shown to be invalid if both types of endogenous behavior are present

Did the Hartz Reforms Speed-Up Job Creation? A Macro-Evaluation Using Empirical Matching Functions


Starting in January 2003, Germany implemented the first two so-called Hartz reforms, followed by the third and fourth packages of Hartz reforms in January 2004 and January 2005, respectively. The aim of these reforms was to accelerate labor market flows and reduce unemployment duration. Without attempting to evaluate the specific components of these Hartz reforms, this paper provides a first attempt to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the first two reform waves, Hartz I/II and III, in speeding up the matching process between unemployed and vacant jobs. The analysis is conceptually rooted in the flow-based view underlying the reforms, estimating the structural features of the matching process. The results indicate that the reforms indeed had an impact in making the labor market more dynamic and accelerating the matching process.

Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey


This paper presents new evidence on the distribution of risk attitudes in the population, using a novel set of survey questions and a representative sample of roughly 22,000 individuals living in Germany. Using a question that asks about willingness to take risks in general, on an 11-point scale, we find evidence of heterogeneity across individuals, and show that willingness to take risks is negatively related to age and being female, and positively related to height and parental education. We test the behavioral relevance of this survey measure by conducting a complementary field experiment, based on a representative sample of 450 subjects, and find that the general risk question is a good predictor of actual risk-taking behavior. We then use a more standard lottery question to measure risk preferences in our sample of 22,000, and find similar results regarding heterogeneity and determinants of risk preferences, compared to the general risk question. The lottery question also makes it possible to estimate the coefficient of relative risk aversion for each individual in the sample. Using five questions about willingness to take risks in specific domains - car driving, financial matters, sports and leisure, career, and health - the paper also studies the impact of context on risk attitudes, finding a strong but imperfect correlation across contexts. Using data on a collection of risky behaviors from different contexts, including traffic offences, portfolio choice, smoking, occupational choice, participation in sports, and migration, the paper compares the predictive power of all of the risk measures. Strikingly, the general risk question predicts all behaviors whereas the standard lottery measure does not. The best predictor for any specific behavior is typically the corresponding context-specific measure.

Human Capital Accumulation, Education and Earnings Inequality


This paper attempts to add to the understanding of the causes for the differing recent developments in inequality in OECD countries. The similarity of shocks and technological changes affecting these countries suggests that interactions of these shocks and country-specific institutions are responsible for the diverging inequality patterns. The paper suggests a channel complementary to those investigated in recent contributions, focusing on the impact of education. A microfoundation of human capital formation is proposed, emphasizing heterogeneity of individuals and multidimensionality of human capital. The reactions in individual behavior triggered by technological change are crucially affected by the education system and are shown to be responsible for the divergent developments in inequality.

Gender differentials in skill use and skill formation in the aftermath of vocational training


This paper investigates gender differentials in the aftermath of vocational training in Germany. The study documents the existence of substantial gender wage gaps for the homogeneous group of individuals with completed apprenticeship training. Evidence is presented that the gender differential is not confined to wages, but also affects the extent to which apprenticeship skills are used later on in the career, and the likelihood of receiving formal training upon completion of apprenticeship. In all instances, women reveal a significantly lower incidence than men. The evidence also suggests that occupational mobility is unlikely to undo this pattern, but rather aggravates it as mobility particularly hurts women in their subsequent human capital formation.

Estimations of Occupational and Regional Matching Efficiencies Using Stochastic Production Frontier Models : Regional Dependencies in Job Creation: An Efficiency Analysis for Western Germany


This paper investigates the efficiency of the matching process between job seekers and vacancy posting firms in West-Germany, using variation across labor market regions and across time. The results of a stochastic frontier analysis shed new light on extent and regional differences of search frictions, on potential determinants of frictional inefficiencies and on the consequences of German reunification for the matching process. The paper also presents novel evidence on the complex interactions between spatial contingencies among regional labor markets: matching efficiency decreases with spatial autocorrelation in hiring, implying indirect evidence for crowding externalities.

Employment Status, Endogenous Regional Mobility, and Spatial Dependencies in Labor Markets


This paper investigates spatial correlation in the matching process of vacant jobs and job seekers. The importance of the interactions of regional labor markets in West Germany is highlighted in several dimensions. We test for spatial autocorrelation in regional hires, unemployment and vacancy levels, we examine the patterns of new matches in regions, identify clusters of regions of particularly intense interregional matching, and examine the effects of German re-unification. After setting-out a simple model of endogenous regional mobility and endogenous on-the-job search, we analyze the composition of new hires with respect to regional origin and previous employment status, the determinants of this composition, and the interaction of these characteristics. The results shed new light on the puzzle raised in the literature, which finds a large variation in unemployment rates, combined with little inter-regional migration. We find evidence in favour of labor market determined migration and against the 'internal migration puzzle' found for other European countries and partly for the United States.

Disaggregate Matching Functions


This paper deals with empirical matching functions. The paper is innovative in several ways. First, unlike in most of the existing literature, matching functions are estimated not only on aggregate, but also on disaggregate levels which is unusual due to the scarcity of appropriate data. Moreover, the unique data set used allows to distinguish inflows into jobs by sources. Results for different measures of flows found in the literature can therefore be replicated using a single data set. Labor markets can be disaggregated by occupations, rather than by industries or regions. Furthermore, disaggregation is possible for age and educational groups. The paper allows detailed insights into the pattern of frictions in labor markets, on mismatch and labor market tightness, and therefore provides valuable information necessary for the conduct of labor market policies

Relative versus absolute income, joy of winning, and gender : Brain imaging evidence


In this paper we study the role of absolute versus relative income using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). While being scanned in two adjacent MRI scanners, pairs of subjects had to simultaneously perform a simple estimation task that entailed monetary rewards for correct answers. We show that a variation in the comparison subject's payment affects blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) responses in the ventral striatum. This brain region is engaged in the prediction and registration of primary rewards such as food delivery as well as more abstract forms of rewards like money. In particular, we show that activation in the ventral striatum increases in absolute income and - for a given level of absolute income - decreases in lower relative income. Using a male and a female sample allows us to study whether the perception of relative and absolute incomes is gender specific. We find that the effects of absolute and relative incomes are strong and relatively similar for both genders. Finally, we analyze the importance of "joy of winning", i.e., the impact of outperforming another subject. Our results suggest that the mere fact of outperforming the other subject positively affects reward related brain areas.

Individual Risk Attitudes : Measurement, Determinants and Behavioral Consequences


This paper studies risk attitudes using a large representative survey and a complementaryexperiment conducted with a representative subject pool in subjects' homes. Using aquestion asking people about their willingness to take risks "in general", we find thatgender, age, height, and parental background have an economically significant impacton willingness to take risks. The experiment confirms the behavioral validity of thismeasure, using paid lottery choices. Turning to other question about risk attitudesin specific contexts, we find similar results on the determinants of risk attitudes, andalso shed light on the deeper question of stability of risk attitudes across contexts. Weconduct a horse race of the ability of different measures to explain risky behaviorssuch as holdings stocks, occupational choice, and smoking. The question about risktakingin general generates the best all-around predictor of risky behavior.


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