Job tenure and labour market dynamics during high industrialization: the case of Germany before World War I
BROWN, JOHN C.
As recent commentaries on Western European unemployment have noted, high unemployment, limited worker mobility, and a limited creation of jobs characterise the current inflexible labour market structures. This article uses a new source, extracts from the Arbeiterb cher of eight German firms found in textiles and heavy industry during the period of high industrialisation, to identify key features of the labour markets of pre-1914 Germany. The results are consistent with neo-classical economic models of labour markets. Hazard analysis of firm employment records suggests that while marital status played an important role in mobility, even older workers held three to four times as many jobs as workers today. Information and skill levels were also crucial determinants. Mobility was highly responsive to shifts in demand conditions as well.
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