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The Effectiveness of Job-Retention Schemes during the pandemic: Evidence from Germany

Summary:
Shekhar Aiyar and Mai Chi Dao in this IMF paper evaluate the effectiveness of Germany’s short-term work programme during the pandemic: Kurzarbeit (KA), Germany’s short-time work program, is widely credited with saving jobs and supporting domestic demand during the COVID-19 recession. We quantify the impact by exploiting state-level variation in exposure to the pandemic shock and KA take-up. We construct a shift-share measure of the labor demand shock and instrument KA take-up using the pre-existing, state-specific share of workers eligible for KA. We find, first, that KA was crucial in mitigating unemployment: absent its expansion the unemployment rate would have increased by an additional 3 pp on average at the trough of the recession. Second, KA also bolstered domestic demand: the

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Shekhar Aiyar and Mai Chi Dao in this IMF paper evaluate the effectiveness of Germany’s short-term work programme during the pandemic:

Kurzarbeit (KA), Germany’s short-time work program, is widely credited with saving jobs and supporting domestic demand during the COVID-19 recession. We quantify the impact by exploiting state-level variation in exposure to the pandemic shock and KA take-up. We construct a shift-share measure of the labor demand shock and instrument KA take-up using the pre-existing, state-specific share of workers eligible for KA. We find, first, that KA was crucial in mitigating unemployment: absent its expansion the unemployment rate would have increased by an additional 3 pp on average at the trough of the recession. Second, KA also bolstered domestic demand: the contraction in consumption could have been 2 to 3 times larger absent the program. Finally, we provide preliminary evidence on the sensitivity of the medium-run reallocation of resources to the prevalence of jobretention schemes during the Global Financial Crisis.

Amol Agrawal
I am currently pursuing my PhD in economics. I have work-ex of nearly 10 years with most of those years spent figuring economic research in Mumbai’s financial sector.

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