News from the IAAEU





Colloquium on Economics at the IAAEU

Next Tuesday, December 11th, 2018 (18:00 h, H714, Campus II) the next lecture will take place within the framework of the economic colloquium, to which we cordially invite you. Professor Dr. Wolter Hassink of Utrecht University will present the paper "The Cognitive Meltdown: Radiation and Cognitive Skills after Early Childhood". Please find further information here.

Positions as academic associates (f/m)
On March 1st, 2019 or earlier, the Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU) together with the Chair of Personnel Economics at Trier University will fill two positions for academic staff (doctoral or post-doctoral). Please find further information here.

Position as academic assistants (f/m)
On February 1st, 2019, the Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU) at Trier University is looking for two academic assistants in the field of IT. Please find further information here.

11. Workshop on Labour Economics
The IAAEU and the Chair of Personnel Economics at Trier University are pleased to announce the 11. Workshop on Labour Economics, to be held on the 12th and 13th of April, 2019. Please find further information here.



Prizes, Distinctions & News


Broader, farther, smarter

Much like the ancient Olimpians who collected trophies from competitions, IAAEU economists used the summer to collect merit badges from numerous conferences: we have been to 29 different events, vast majority of them international and widely recognized. In these events we have presented 19 different studies.
The first merit badge was for networking. Sven Hartmann disseminated broadly his xenophobia research, which was all the more relevant given the rising interest in this topic. Gabriel Schultze interacted with people who specialize in working with SOEP data. The whole team encouraged collaboration with IAAEU staff and invited to present papers in our seminar series, especially Alberto Palermo, the coordinator of the seminar.
The second merit badge was for furthering the understanding of our research fields. Konstantin Homolka had the pleasure to interact with Martin Dufwenberg to advance his work on cheating. Sven Hartmann discussed economics of xenophobia with Simon Gaechter.
The third merit badge is for broadening of the perspectives. Each of the events had a different audience – from theory and industrial organization (e.g. EARIE), through institutional economics (e.g. SIOE), personnel economics (e.g. WK Personnel Workshop), labor economics (e.g. EALE) to general interest events (e.g. EEA). We also went to specialized workshops (e.g. behavioral and experimental economics, business administration). If you present one study to such diverse audiences, you are bound to receive broad and inspiring comments, even if they are from outside the current scope of work. For example, Alberto Palermo received comments to his work on family firms from theorists, personnel scholars and labor economists. Laszlo Goerke interacted with both specialized audiences and general interest participants to discuss his work on product market imperfections and labor market design.
The fourth merit badge is for learning the new things. Joanna Tyrowicz was particularly stunned by the keynote address of Sascha O. Becker on forced migration. Jonas Feld and Konstantin Homolka appreciated greatly the hints for young scholars on how to develop research projects, network, and improve clarity of presentations. Presenting to rooms packed with audience – as was the case for xenophobia talk by Sven Hartmann during his EEA session, is also a skill worth acquiring.
Given this breadth of experiences, no wonder even injuries did not prevent us from travelling thousands of kilometers to experience all that. Looking forward to the summers to come!

International Workshop "Team Dynamics and Peer Effects" on November 9th und 10th, 2018

On November 9th and 10th, 2018 the economic work group of the IAAEU along with the Chair of Personnel Economics of Trier University hosted a workshop concerning "team dynamics and peer effects". The main focus of the workshop was issues regarding behavior and decision making in teams. Additionally, examinations that explored the change in performance of workers when their work process was not isolated, but in the presence of others, were presented. Building on the influence others have on individual performance, Julia Müller (University of Münster) and her co-author investigated the classic measurement problem of isolating individual performance in teams. Christian Grund (RWTH Aachen University) presented a research project in which the real-world subjects' productivity was influenced by innovative virtual technology while they were competing with digital avatars. Together with his two co-authors he showed that the mere presence of an avatar already increases productivity, with other factors having negligible effects. Following a number of fascinating presentations, an evening program, which was linked directly to the topic of modern work development, took place: In »»generator 2018 Andrea Diederichs guided our guests through the exhibition "Marx and Digital Capitalism". During this tour, the participants could, with the help of artistic impulses, reflect on the diverse research projects that had been presented.
In total, eleven researchers presented their findings during the workshop. The IAAEU and Trier University were represented by two projects. We are happy that we could enable researchers to meet and engage in scholarly exchange once again. Moreover, we want to thank Trier University for supporting the workshop financially through the intramural research funding. You can find more information regarding the workshop here.


Collage Workshop 11 15a

Impressions of the workshop


Presentation: "The role of new intermediaries in negotiating labour conditions for the solo self-employed"

On Wednesday the 14th of November, 2018, Jun.-Prof. Dr. Caroline Ruiner presented her newest research in a guest lecture titled "The role of new intermediaries in negotiating labour conditions for the solo self-employed". Referring to the results of the research project "Collective Individualisation – Individual Collectivisation?", she discussed the role that new intermediaries, such as agencies and cooperatives, play in negotiating the labour conditions for the highly qualified solo self-employed. Using examples from three exemplary occupational groups, she illuminated which aspects of labour conditions are negotiated by these intermediaries and with which frequency. Finally, she explored the effects of these developments can have on labour markets and on the labour conditions of non-self-employed. The presentation was concluded with an interesting, demonstrative discussion.


Ruiner1 Ruiner2 Ruiner3

Impressions of the presentation


Dr. Benjamin Schwanebeck guest at the IAAEU

From the 12th to the 15th of November, 2018, Dr. Benjamin Schwanebeck was guest researcher at the IAAEU. He is post-doc researcher at the Chair of Economics, specifically International Economics, at the Fernuniversität Hagen. Together with Dr. Marco de Pinto, Dr. Schwanebeck worked on the development of a new research project. In this project, the macroeconomic consequences of labour market imperfections are analysed with explicit consideration of different financial restrictions in interaction with heterogeneous companies.

IAAEU Researchers visit the Luxemburg Central Bank's Labour Market Workshop

Two IAAEU researchers, Jonas Feld and Gabriel Schultze, took part in the Labour Market Workshop held by the Central Bank of Luxemburg on the 25th and 26th of October, 2018. The goal of the workshop was to encourage exchange between labour market economists from Luxemburg and its neighboring countries. Jonas Feld presented his findings on the effects of national minimum wages on inner-European labour migration and showed that labour migration regions avoid raises to the minimum wage. Gabriel Schultze presented a research project on the connection between union membership and overtime. His study showed that union members in Germany work about three quarters less over-time per week. In addition to seeing many acquaintances from the Greater Region Research Network, new connections were made with international researchers. Feel free to contact the researchers with any questions about their projects.

Joanna Tyrowicz's research visit at the IOS

In October Joanna Tyrowicz stayed at the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS) Regensburg within the Visiting Scholars Program. Joanna's interest relate to labor market inequality, in particular in a comparative context. She has analyzed the patterns of female barriers in employment (a study forthcoming in Social Science Research) as well as consequences of labor market shocks for gender wage inequality. Her new project, commenced in Regenesburg, relates working time flexibility to gender wage inequality. According to Claudia Goldin (2014), wage gap due to gender is a phenomenon of the past. Goldin argued in her AEA 2014 presidential address, giving examples of several occupations, that the gap between men and women follows from the ability to supply labor with flexibility in terms of working time and timing. Occupations where the employers' demand for flexibility was reduced, due to e.g. change in technology of production, have observed low and declining gender wage gaps (adjusted and raw). This formulation is supported by a recent overview by Blau & Kahn (2017), who argue that the unadjusted gaps in wages between men and women have declined in the US due to a closing gap in educational attainment and change in the occupational structure of the economy. Also Ngai & Petrongolo (2017) argue in a stylized simulation model setting that the rise of the service economy could be a powerful equalizing force if women have a comparative advantage in the rising sector. This recent literature reorients the concept of gender wage gap viewed as discrimination to a one, where observed gender wage gaps after adjusting for individual characteristics are merely a consequence of omitted variable bias or a systematic measurement error related to inadequate tackling of the working time flexibility wage gap. This reorientation of the empirical literature need not be adequate for countries other than the US. Few countries have implemented equal opportunity legislation to the same extent as the US and in few other countries the decline in the adjusted gender wage gaps has been keeping up with the pace observed in the US. In fact, in a meta-analysis for a wide selection of countries Weichselbaum & Winter-Ebmer (2011) find that the decline in the scope of the adjusted gender wage gap appears at a rate of approximately 0.15% per year. Given that the average adjusted gap in the advanced economies is in excess of 10%, wage equality seems like a distant perspective. Eastern and South-Eastern Europe are especially interesting cases, because adjusted gender wage gaps are among the highest there and do not seem to decline at all. Baltic states and the Balkan countries report adjusted gender wage gaps of as much as 40%. Also employment gaps are not declining (although these were lower in level terms than in the Western European countries). In her new project, Joanna wants to take seriously the hypothesis of the working time flexibility and inquire its validity in the context of countries characterized by high labor market inequality in terms of gender.

Ruling on the ban on civil servant strikes

The German Federal Constitutional Court ruled on the 12th of June 2018 that civil servants do not have the right to strike. Dr. Thomas Klein (academic advisor at the IAAEU) has given this decision a great deal of attention and come to the conclusion that the court's argument for this decision failed to attend to, or more specifically, gave too little weight to central aspects of the case. In particular, the constitutional right of civil servants to free association was given too little weight. Furthermore, the court’s interpretation of the European Court of Human Rights decision was also open to critique. An objection from the court in Strasbourg would, therefore, have a serious chance at success. Dr. Klein’s discussion of the decision was published in band 10/2018 of the Journal "Arbeit und Recht" (AuR 2018, 479-484).

New Monograph from Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Monika Schlachter

A new monograph, M. Mironi/ M. Schlachter: Regulating strikes in essential services – a comparative "law in action" perspective, Wolters Kluwer 2018, has been published. It is the result of the IAAEU comparative legal studies project "Strikes in Essential Services", which has been underway since 2016. The monograph includes reports on industrial action rights in 14 different countries, a report on the common regulatory framework on international labour law as well as a final chapter on comparative legal issues. It showcases the product of the German-Israeli-Foundation’s (GIF) financial support for the project to the public at large. Please find further information and the structure of the work here.

Labour Market Effects of Unions – On the role of unevenly distributed union power

IAAEU economist Dr. Marco de Pinto and Prof. Dr. Jochen Michaelis from the University of Kassel recently published a study on the effects of unions on labour markets in the journal Economic Modelling. In their theoretical model, the authors started from the empirically validated observation that a union's bargaining power is decisively dependent on firm productivity. Analyzing a general improvement of union's bargaining strength (e.g. through increased right to strike), they find that the implied rise in unemployment is smaller than in the reference case of uniform bargaining power across all firms. The heterogeneity of bargaining power thus lowers, ceteris paribus, unemployment. Beyond that, the authors discussed the labour market effects of trade liberalization. When unions for highly productive firms are particularly strong (weak), trade liberalisation increases (decreases) unemployment.

New Study on the Employment Effects of Collective Agreements

In English-speaking countries, the employment growth in firms where unions have influence over pay and working conditions is much lower than in firms without collective wage bargaining. Because collective bargaining in these countries tends to take place at plant level, the results of studies concerning these conditions cannot be easily generalised for application to other countries. Laszlo Goerke (Trier) and Tobias Brändle (Tübingen) have now examined if there is a connection between commitment to collective agreements and employment in Germany. In Germany, about 50% of employees are paid according to sector-wide collective agreements and a further 10% fall under plant-level agreements. As a result, the consequences of the observed connection between collective agreements and employment effects in Great Britain and the USA would be of a much higher magnitude for economy-wide employment in Germany than in countries with fewer commitments to collective agreements.

In their study, which was recently published in the Scottish Journal of Political Economy, the authors show that the employment growth for companies with collective agreements is lower than for those without them in Germany as well. The effect is, however, much less pronounced. In addition, the authors find no differences between sector-wide and plant-level collective agreements. They then examine if the collective agreements are the actual cause of lower employment growth. And while Laszlo Goerke and Tobias Brändle were not able to completely answer that question, their results indicate that the collective agreements are not likely to be the root for differing developments. It seems instead to be the case that companies with lower employment growth levels tend to have adopted collective agreements while those with higher employment growth have not. Accordingly, the study does not provide evidence supporting the claim that the decline in collective agreements is the reason for the currently positive employment trends. The study has also been published in the IAAEU Discussion Paper 01/15.

New Publication: Labor reallocation and demographics, Journal of Comparative Economics

Joanna Tyrowicz and her co-authors discuss the mechanics behind the labor market reallocation and structural change in economies undergoing a transition from central planning to a market economy. We find is that these economies were really standard markets, even during the early years of transition. Yes, massive layoffs and public sector collapsing, but this was just like a regular crisis to the labor markets, not a specific transition crisis. The labor market flows and the mechanics of structural change are such that rather than worker flows between jobs (from collapsing to newly emerging), there is a generational exchange. A worker, dismissed from an old-style job in an old-style industry, is more likely to find a similar job than to find a job in the new part of the economy. Meanwhile, graduates, with no prior experience, go where the new sectors of the economy grow: new firms and new jobs. By consequence, majority of the change in the structure of employment is not because workers flew from old to new sector, but because older workers left the labor markets and young workers entered not in their shoes. This finding is supported by the analysis of the labor market flows for 27 transition countries with the use of the novel Life in Transition Survey, developed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This data covers the labor market biographies of individuals as far back as to 1989, asking about education, job changes as well as many characteristics of the employers. Our study compares the role of the demographic flows to the ones theorized in transition literature, such as flows between SOEs and private sector (Aghion and Blanchard model of 1994) and the flows between sun-setting and sun-rising sectors (a number of models by Cabaillero and Hammour from mid 1990s). We find that majority of the change in the employment structure did not follow the theoretical prescriptions of either of these models. It is thus likely that the labor market policies were insufficient in scale to effectively facilitate the worker reallocation in the ways previewed by reallocation models. This holds despite the fact that most transition countries adjusted substantially labor market structure in terms of ownership and industry composition in a relatively short period of time. It also appears that a substantial number of workers in transition countries may have considered retirement benefits as safety nets in the expectation of becoming non-employed rather than as a consequence of experiencing redundancy. These early exits have relieved the downward pressure on wages by the job-seekers and permanently increased the non-wage employment costs, hence hindering the job creation.

New Publication: Does Age Exacerbate the Gender-Wage Gap? New Method and Evidence From Germany, 1984–2014, Feminist Economics

This analysis seeks to understand the changes in the gender wage gap as women age. Our research indicates that with age, gender differences in conditional wages grow; though this widening of the gap appears to be non-monotonic. The adjusted wage gap grows the fastest when women turn 30, possibly explained by intensified caring activities. This evidence is consistent with existing attempts to explain wage inequality; however, we also observe that the wage gap increases in the post reproductive age, which presupposes a challenge to human capital literature. In terms of policy implications, the fact that gender wage gap adjusted for individual characteristics continues to grow also in the post-reproductive age, hints that at various stages of career different instruments may be needed to mitigate the gender labor market inequality. At younger ages, linking maternity benefits to previous employment earnings, increasing the availability of childcare facilities and encouraging more equal split of the child rearing between men and women might help to reduce the unexplained wage gap. However, in older age groups, such instrument may be insufficient. Notably, addressing gender wage gap among older workers could also help to increase female labor market participation on later stages of their life, thus helping to mitigate the costs of an ageing workforce.

How many consecutive days of work are allowed by union law?

The working-hours directive stipulates in Art. 5 that a minimum of 24 hours rest per 7 days must be provided, in addition to the daily periods of rest. In the case C- 306/16 ("Maio Marques da Rosa / Varzim Sol - Turismo, Jogo e Animação, SA"), the European Court of Justice grappled with this provision for the first time. In this case, the court understood the provision to mean that the weekly period of rest need not necessarily follow 6 days of work, thus finding that, even beyond the exceptions in the directive, 12 consecutive days of work are admissible under union law. This interpretation has been called into question by Dominik Leist in a new study that finds the court’s decision failed to adequately honour the health policy dimensions of labour law. Furthermore, the European Court of Justice only partially examined the questions raised by the case and, in particular, failed to perform the required operationalisation of the term "7 day period", thereby omitting the resulting perspectives from their analysis. The whole contribution from Dominik Leist was published and can be found in the Zeitschrift für europäisches Sozial- und Arbeitsrecht (ZESAR), Issue 08/2018, pp. 338-341.

Virtual Employment in the Context of a Changing World of Work

In a contribution for the Neue Zeitschrift für Sozialrecht (NZS), Alexander Schneider (IAAEU researcher) and Dr. Thomas Spitzlei (Academic Councillor and Post-Doctoral Candidate under the Professorial Chair of Prof. Dr. Timo Hebeler, University of Trier) examine virtual employment in the case of workplace accident compensation as covered by § 2 Abs. 2 S. 1 SGB VII in the context of a changing world of work. The status of virtual employment is determined through four criteria which were established in the Federal Social Court of Germany in 1957: the following must apply for the bespoken employment (1.) the work must seriously serve the interests of an external company, (2.) in accordance with the actual or suspected purpose of said company (3.) that would otherwise be attended to by persons who are professionally or personally dependent upon said company, whereby (4.) the work can take place under conditions that are similar to that of a normal employment relationship. The fourth condition requires of the work which led to the accident that it be a position available to the general labour market. The authors explain why the "general labour market" condition, as stipulated in § 2 Abs. 2 S. 1 SGB VII, is no longer appropriate in a modernised world of work. Argumentative contradictions are shown in the judgements on cases concerning dog-sitting and riding animals. Furthermore, concerns about the constitutional legitimacy of the settlement practices are made. The authors are of the opinion that the fourth criterion must, in light increasing complexity in the world of work, be abandoned. The article (NZS 2018, 633 – 638) can be read under beck-online.

Labour Law Practitioners' Seminar 2018
On the 19th and 20th of July, 2018, this year's labour law practitioners' seminar took place at the Federal Social Court of Germany in Kassel under the leadership Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Monika Schlachter. The seminar was opened by attorney at law Rolf-Christian Otto, who held a presentation on the reimbursement of worker’s council members. Following that, Dr. Thomas Klein spoke about the new legislation being planned in the coalition agreement concerning fixed term contracts, examined their constitutionality and presented his own suggestion for implementing the planned changes. The seminar was closed by Dominik Leist with a presentation on collective contracts for platform employees. In his presentation he highlighted constitutional and civil legal issues surrounding the regulation of collective unions of crowdworkers and discussed the use of European and national cartel prohibition laws.

Research Cooperation with Dr. Ulrich Zierahn
From the 23rd to the 25th of July, 2018, Dr. Ulrich Zierahn was active as a guest researcher at the IAAEU. He is a Senior Researcher at ZEW. During his stay Mr. Zierahn worked together with Dr. Marco de Pinto on the joint third-party funded project "Local labour markets - The causes and consequences of spatial differences in labour market outcomes across cities in France and Germany". Here, the researchers are investigating the reallocation of the workforce due to increasing international interdependence.

Project-Workshop "Crowdsourcing as a New Form of Labour Organisation"

On Thursday the 12th of July, the IAAEU together with researchers from the University of Bremen hosted the Project-Workshop "Crowdsourcing as a New Form of Labour Organisation" in the institute's Max-Weber-Room. The goal of the workshop was the interdisciplinary examination of current questions surrounding crowdsourcing, from both economic and legal perspectives. The workshop was opened by Dr. Thomas Klein with his lecture "An Introduction to the Legal Problem of Minimum Wage for Crowdworkers de lege ferenda". In his talk, Dr. Klein first described the legal framework for arrangement model behind the contractual relationship into which crowdworkers enter in order to ascertain, in a second step, if current legal provisions would support the minimum wage for crowdworkers. Following that, Lisa Nagel presented her work on the question "Does Group Identification Affect the Performance of Crowdworkers?", whereby she studied whether a crowdworker’s identification with their platform influences work performance. Katrin Treppschuh examined four different US and British court decisions to determine the place of crowdworkers in their respective legal systems in her presentation "The Crowdworkers’ Legal Status in US American and British Jurisprudence". The first part of the workshop was closed by Eliza Stenzhorn’s presentation "How does Platform Design and Competition Affect the Welfare Distribution among Crowdworkers, Crowdsourcers and Platforms?", in which she studied the transferability of an crowdworker’s online reputation between platforms and the advantages and disadvantages associated with them. The second day of the workshop was opened by Dominik Leist with his contribution "Collective Contracts for Platform Employees". He described simple legal and constitutional rulings on crowdworker collective associations and investigated what role European monopoly laws could play in that context. The workshop was closed by Dr. Lars Hornuf with his presentation on the topic "Crowdsourced Innovation: How Community Managers Affect Crowd Activities". The individual presentations concluded with in-depth discussions among the workshop participants.


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Impressions of the workshop