Research

Research

Working Papers

Employing the unemployed of Marienthal: Evaluation of a guaranteed job program
(joint with Maximilian Kasy)
Online Appendix, Pre-analysis plan, registered as AEARCTR-0006706
Selected media coverage
English: The New Yorker, CNN, Financial Times, Forbes, Business Insider
German: Der Spiegel, Die Zeit 1, 2, Der Standard 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ORF 1, 2, 3, 4
TV & radio: ARTE 1, 2, ARD, ZDF, ORF 1, 2, Deutschlandfunk 1, 2, Ö1 1, 2.
Policy impact: EU, OECD 1, 2, ILO 1, 2, Italy: Ministry of Labour, Austria: Parliament.
Awarded the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy dissertation grant and
the UC Berkeley Fellowship 2022/23 of the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation.
recording slides podcast in English
recording slides in German
bibtex citation code dashboard

Abstract We evaluate a guaranteed job program that was piloted, starting in October 2020, in the municipality of Gramatneusiedl in Austria. This program provided individually tailored, voluntary jobs to all long-term unemployed residents. Our evaluation is based on three estimation approaches. The first approach uses pairwise matched randomization of participants into waves for program adoption. The second approach uses a pre-registered synthetic control at the municipality level. The third approach compares program participants to observationally similar individuals in control municipalities. These different approaches allow us to separate out direct effects of program participation, anticipation effects of future participation, and municipality-level equilibrium effects.

We find strong positive impacts of program participation on participants’ economic (employment, income, security) and non-economic wellbeing (social recognition, time structure, social interactions, collective purpose). We do not find effects on physical health, or risk- and time-preferences. At the municipality level, we find a large reduction of long-term unemployment, and a slightly attenuated reduction of total unemployment. Comparing participants to similar individuals in control towns, we obtain estimates that are very close to the estimates from the experimental comparison. There is evidence of positive anticipation effects in terms of subjective wellbeing, status and social inclusion for future program participants, relative to ineligible control-town individuals.

Begging thy coworker - Labor market dualization and the slow-down of wage growth in Europe, INET Oxford Working Paper No. 2022-04
(joint with Paul Ramskogler and Aleksandra Riedl)
Awarded the Barnett Prize for the best paper of the year by a research student at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford and the SASE / Digit 2022 Early Career Workshop Award.
bibtex citation

Abstract Does the structure of labor markets – and the possibility to employ temporary workers – affect aggregate wage growth? After the global financial crisis (GFC) a rich debate had ensued about the reasons for the delayed pick up of wage growth. However, structural labor market aspects remained strangely absent from this discussion. We contribute by incorporating labor market dualization into the standard Phillips curve model to explain wage growth in 30 European countries in the period 2004-2017.

We find that the presence of workers with temporary contracts in Europe’s labor markets slows down aggregate wage growth due to the competition that temporary workers exert on permanent workers. This competition effect is most pronounced in countries, where trade union density is low. Moreover, we establish that labor market dualization has been at least as important in slowing wage growth since the GFC as unemployment, i.e. the observed flattening of the Phillips curve.

Work in Progress

Reframing active labor market policy
(joint with Anna Schwarz)
Experiment in progress, 2021-2023, registered as AEARCTR-0007141.
Selected media coverage: Der Standard, Die Presse, Kurier.
bibtex citation code

Labor Unions and Firm Productivity
(joint with Emanuel List)
Awarded the OeNB Anniversary Fund Grant 2023 - 2025


Journal Publications

4) Capturing the COVID-19 Crisis through Public Health and Social Measures Data Science, Scientific Data, 2022, 9, 520.
(joint with Cindy Cheng, Amélie Desvars-Larrive, Bernhard Ebbinghaus, Thomas Hale, Alex Howes, Luca Messerschmidt, Angeliki Nika, Steve Penson, Anna Petherick, Hanmeng Xu, Alexander John Zapf, Yuxi Zhang, and Sophia Alison Zweig)
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Abstract In response to COVID-19, governments worldwide are implementing public health and social measures (PHSM) that substantially impact many areas beyond public health. The new field of PHSM data science collects, structures, and disseminates data on PHSM; here, we report the main achievements, challenges, and focus areas of this novel field of research.

3) Welfare state support during the COVID-19 pandemic: Change and continuity in public attitudes towards social policies in Germany, European Policy Analysis, 2022, 8(3), 297–311.
(joint with Bernhard Ebbinghaus and Elias Naumann)
Coverage: Resolution Foundation
bibtex citation

Abstract Our analysis asks whether the pandemic situation affects welfare state support in Germany. The pandemic has increased the health and income risks calling for welfare state intervention. While increased needs, more deservingness, and higher state responsibility during such a crisis would suggest augmented support generally and among those at risk, this might be a short-term effect and cost considerations could reverse this trend. We study public attitudes towards four key social policy areas based on the German Internet Panel (GIP). We use three waves prior and further three waves since the pandemic had been declared in March 2020. The analysis shows both continuity in the popularity of social policies, in particular health and pensions, and some short-term increase in support for unemployment and family policies. The results after nearly 2 years suggest rather continuation with some thermostatic short-term boosts in support instead of any long-lasting change.

2) Europe’s Social Model facing the Covid-19 Employment Crisis: Innovating Job Retention Policies to Avoid Mass Unemployment, Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 2022, 28(1), 47-64.
(joint with Bernhard Ebbinghaus)
Summary: LSE EUROPP Blog, Social Europe.
bibtex citation replication data

Abstract Europe faces multiple challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, including the problem of how to secure jobs and earnings. In our comparative analysis, we explore to what degree European welfare states were capable to respond to this crisis by stabilizing employment and income for working people. While short-time work was a policy tool already partly used in the Great Recession, job retention policies were further expanded or newly introduced across Europe due to the pandemic in 2020. However, cross-national variations persist in the way in which these schemes were designed and implemented across European welfare states, aiming more or less towards labour hoarding to avoid mass dismissal throughout the employment crisis. We distinguish between business support and labour support logics in explaining the variation in job retention policies across Europe. Continental, Mediterranean and Liberal welfare states fostered more labour hoarding than Nordic or Central and Eastern European countries.

Pre-PhD

1) A Reversing Case within Trajectories of Liberalisation: The revival of neo-corporatism in Austria since 2008, Momentum Quarterly - Journal for Societal Progress, 2017, 6(4), 210-229.
Summary: LSE NETUF Blog, Arbeit und Wirtschaft Blog.
bibtex citation

Abstract The overall dominating trend of liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation has accelerated since the global economic crisis in 2008. Under the paradigm of competitiveness, a major policy goal has been the implementation of ‘structural reforms’ replacing neo-corporatist practices with market coordination. However, Austria’s coordinating institutions have been strengthened since 2008, contrasting the EU-wide liberalising trend. To explain this puzzle, government members’ biographies since 1983 were analysed, seven elite interviews conducted and official government documents evaluated. Under the logic of access, social partner organisations made active use of a ‘revolving door effect’, placing their employees as ‘interlocking directorates’ in government positions to gain influence on policies. For this ‘power-policy exchange’ social partners defended political compromises of the government and supported the weakened social democratic (SPÖ) and the conservative (ÖVP) party leadership. Such a ‘tactical alliance’ is fragile, as it depends on the interest constellation of actors involved, but outlines the remaining scope for domestic politics in an age of increased liberalising pressures from globalisation and EU integration.