Some Surprising Facts about Working Time Accounts and the Business Cycle

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Balleer A, Gehrke B, Merkl C
Journal: International Journal of Manpower
Publisher: Emerald
Publication year: 2017
Volume: 38
Pages range: 940-953
ISSN: 0143-7720
Language: English



time accounts (WTAs) allow firms to smooth hours worked over time. The
purpose of this paper is to analyze whether this increase in flexibility
has also affected how firms adjust employment in Germany over the
business cycle.


paper uses rich microeconomic panel data and fixed effects estimations
to compare the employment adjustment of firms with and without WTAs.


authors show that firms with WTAs show a similar separation and hiring
behavior in response to revenue changes as firms without WTAs. One
possible explanation is that firms without WTAs used short-time work
(STW) to adjust hours worked instead. However, the authors find that
firms with WTAs use STW more than firms without WTAs.


findings call into question the popular hypothesis that WTAs were the
key driver of the unusually small increase in German unemployment in the
Great Recession.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Gehrke, Britta Prof. Dr.
Juniorprofessur für Makroökonomie und Arbeitsmarktforschung
Merkl, Christian Prof. Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Volkswirtschaftslehre, insbesondere Makroökonomik

How to cite

Balleer, A., Gehrke, B., & Merkl, C. (2017). Some Surprising Facts about Working Time Accounts and the Business Cycle. International Journal of Manpower, 38, 940-953.

Balleer, Almut, Britta Gehrke, and Christian Merkl. "Some Surprising Facts about Working Time Accounts and the Business Cycle." International Journal of Manpower 38 (2017): 940-953.


Last updated on 2018-09-07 at 14:10