My research interests are in applied and theoretical labour economics, particularly in search and matching.
Joint with Alice Kuegler, revision requested at European Economic Review
How do workers and firms respond to comprehensive labor market reforms? We develop a new approach for reform evaluation that uses detailed micro data, and apply it to analyze the German Hartz Reforms. These reforms aimed at reducing unemployment, by increasing working hour flexibility, job matching and work incentives. In our setting the timing of the reforms affects the model parameters, which are estimated using matched data on 430,000 workers in 340,000 firms. Contrary to previous findings, our analysis shows that the reforms marginally reduced unemployment at the cost of a pronounced decline in wages. Low-skilled workers suffered the largest wage losses. Furthermore, we decompose the contribution of each reform wave on employment and wages, and document a structural shift in the factors that govern overall wage dispersion. Match specific and frictional wage variation become relatively more prominent after the reforms, while the importance of firm and sorting effects is reduced.
Accompanying Web Appendix
Joint with Axel Gottfries
We set up a model with on-the-job search in which firms infrequently post vacancies for which workers occasionally apply. The model nests the standard job ladder and stock-flow models as special cases while remaining analytically tractable and easy to estimate from standard panel data sets. Structurally estimating the model, the parameters are significantly different from the stock-flow or the job ladder model. Further, the estimated parameters governing workers search behavior are found to be consistent with recent survey evidence documented in Faberman et al (2016). The search behavior implied by the standard job ladder model significantly understates the search option associated with employment (and thus underestimates the replacement ratio). Finally, the standard model is unable to generate the decline in the job finding rate and starting wage with duration of unemployment, both of which are present in our data.
In the U.S. the average black worker has a lower employment rate and earns a lower wage compared to his white counterpart. Lang and Lehmann (2012) argue that black-white wage and employment gaps are smaller for high-skill workers. We show that a model combining employer taste-based discrimination, search frictions and skill complementarities can replicate these regularities, and estimate it using data from the U.S. manufacturing sector. We find that discrimination is quantitatively important to understand differences in wages and job finding rates across workers with low education levels, whereas skill differences are the main driver of those differences among workers with high education levels.
We develop and estimate a structural model that incorporates a sizable public sector in a labor market with search frictions. The wage distribution and the employment rate in the public sector are taken as exogenous policy parameters. Overall wage distribution and employment rate are determined within the model, taking into account the private sector’s endogenous response to public sector employment policies. Job turnover is sector specific and transitions between sectors depend on the worker’s decision to accept alternative employment in the same or different sector by comparing the value of employment in the current and prospective jobs. The model is estimated on British data by a method of moments. We use the model to simulate the impact of various counterfactual public sector wage and employment policies.
Differences in wages and in employment between the public and the private sectors are not only present in a static comparison. Dynamic features of employment such as returns to experience, wage volatility and job security also exhibit differences across the two sectors. In the first part of this paper we document these differences in six European countries over the period 1994-2001 using the European Community Household Panel. This enables us to evaluate lifetime premia offered by public sector employment in these countries. In the second part of the paper we present a structural model of the labour market with a public sector, which allows us to quantify the response of the labour market as a whole to various public sector policies in terms of employment and wages. This structural approach enables us to assess and compare the potential impact of alternative polices aimed at reducing the public sector wage bill.
IZA Journal of Labor Economics, 2016, 5(6), pp. 1-30
Self-employed workers account for between 8 and 30 % of participants in the labor markets of OECD countries Blanchower (2004). This paper develops and estimates a general equilibrium model of the labor market that accounts for this sizable proportion. The model incorporates self-employed workers, some of whom hire paid employees in the market. Employment rates and earnings distributions are determined endogenously and are estimated to match their empirical counterparts. The model is estimated using the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS). The model is able to estimate nonpecuniary amenities associated with employment in different labor market states, accounting for both different employment dynamics within state and the misreporting of earnings by self-employed workers. Structural parameter estimates are then used to assess the impact of an increase in the generosity of unemployment benefits on the aggregate employment rate. Findings suggest that modeling the self-employed, some of whom hire paid employees implies that small increases in unemployment benefits leads to an expansion in aggregate employment.
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This is the introductory paper in microeconomics. It concerns the interactions of firms and households and studies, by means of partial and general equilibrium analysis, how relative prices and quantities are determined in markets. It also studies the welfare implications of market exchange and the causes and consequences of and remedies for market failures.
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Mathematics component: this course covers mathematics essential for optimisation problems. Examples from utility maximisation, contract theory and game theory will be considered.