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December 2012:

IZA celebrates 15 years with events in Washington and Berlin

Top left to right: R. Hormats, J. Ritzen
Bottom: R. Hickel, K. F. Zimmermann, P. Clever
Kicking of its 15th anniversary year, IZA has organized two high-profile events in the capitals of the U.S. and Germany. On December 1, a number of IZA network members and renowned economists met in Washington to review IZA's achievements and renew the institute's vision for future research in labor economics. Three panels with more than 20 speakers were dedicated to IZA projects and research collaborations, as well as frontiers in labor market research [view program]. In the evening, keynote speaker Robert D. Hormats (U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment) spoke on How the Emergence of China and Asia Creates New Opportunities for Transatlantic Cooperation [view speech] and discussed future challenges for the governments in China, the U.S. and Europe with IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann.

In Berlin on December 6, Jo Ritzen (former Dutch Minister of Education, World Bank Vice President, and President of Maastricht University) praised IZA’s contributions to research and policy advice over the past 15 years. In a panel discussion on "Agenda 2020 – how sustainable is the German job miracle?" IZA Director Zimmermann engaged in a lively debate with Peter Clever (Confederation of German Employers' Associations, BDA) and Rudolf Hickel (University of Bremen) about the reasons for the crisis resilience of the German labor market and about future strategies to cope with the impending labor shortages in the light of demographic change.

Further reading (in PDF):
- IZA 15 Years Report
- IZA in 2012 (in German)
- Selected op-eds by IZA Director Zimmermann in 2012

Andrew Oswald back at the University of Warwick

A. Oswald
After serving as Director of Research at IZA for two years until December 2012, Andrew Oswald will return as planned to his position at the University of Warwick, where he has been a professor for many years. Oswald is a top scholar in labor economics, whose contributions - particularly to the economics of happiness and interdisciplinary research bordering psychology and medicine - are widely recognized around the world. A profound thinker and insider of key scientific debates, Oswald has stimulated IZA's in-house research activities and greatly supported the institute's weekly seminars and guest researchers. He will continue to keep close touch with IZA as a Research Fellow. With its temporary contracts, IZA serves as a network and catalyst for labor economics research. IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann: "We are proud to have researchers of Andrew's caliber in our fellow network and to have them join our local team for a limited time. We look forward to continuing our collaboration."

Hilmar Schneider appointed Director of CEPS in Luxembourg

H. Schneider
Hilmar Schneider will become the new Director of the Centre d'Études de Populations, de Pauvreté et de Politiques Socio-Economiques (CEPS/INSTEAD) in Luxembourg. He will start his new post in April 2013. For more than a decade, Schneider has shaped IZA's policy-related activities as Director of Labor Policy. He is responsible for numerous studies on the effectiveness of labor market policy instruments, the impact of the tax and transfer system on labor supply behavior, and the consequences of demographic change for the labor market. Hilmar Schneider is a highly renowned researcher with an extraordinary talent for translating scientific findings into plain language and practical policy advice. IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann sees Schneider's new appointment as underscoring IZA's success story: "At IZA we are constantly organizing various scientific processes in a way to achieve top results. Hilmar Schneider is an excellent scholar who thinks in interdisciplinary terms and has a very good sense of relevant topics. We wish him the best of success for his new task."

November 2012:

IZA Policy Fellow Jules Theeuwes passed away

J. Theeuwes †
We were saddened to learn of the untimely passing of IZA Policy Fellow Jules Theeuwes on November 6, 2012. Jules Theeuwes leaves an impressive academic career behind him. He obtained his doctorate in 1975 at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Economics in Vancouver, Canada. He was currently the scientific director of SEO Economic Research and emeritus professor of Applied Economic Research at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Economics and Business. Prior to this he held various academic positions, including professor of General Economics at Leiden University’s Law School. He also held numerous administrative positions, including a period from 2002-2006 when he was a member of the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy.

Jules had a passion for economics, stemming from his fascination with social realities and a strong desire for concrete application, especially when it came to policy issues. His initial interest was in labor economics and he later branched out into the fields of law and economics, industrial organization, and competition policy. He had numerous publications in all of these fields. Jules was also very active in organizational matters through his involvement during the early days of AIAS and ACLE, as the initiator of ENCORE and as one of the founding editors of the journal Labour Economics. He had a gift for finding the essence of theories and phenomena and effectively articulating these ideas using his playful approach. This made him a much sought after figure for speaking engagements, commentary in the media, and as a columnist. He will be greatly missed.

IZA experts contribute to IOM report on access to labor market information for migrants

U. Rinne
Amelie F. Constant (IZA Program Director for Migration) and Ulf Rinne (IZA Senior Research Associate) have been consultants to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for a country report on Germany, assessing the access to labor market information for migrants and employers. When they first consider the demand side, German firms in general do not perceive increased international recruitment activities as an important instrument to counteract the imminent shortages of skilled labor. However, Germany has actually experienced a substantial increase in net immigration in recent years. But rather than due to institutional changes or a proactive recruitment approach, this seems primarily related to the country’s relatively strong performance during the Great Recession. In particular immigration from EU countries that were severely affected by the crisis strongly increased. Sending countries are thus still primarily European countries, while third countries outside the EU play no major role. Informational barriers are identified as a very important restraint for prospective immigrants. Germany still lacks a uniform and comprehensive approach for providing prospective immigrants the necessary information to prepare their move. Although the country has recently made steps towards a more labor-oriented immigration policy and a new online portal was launched providing comprehensive information to potential immigrants (“Make it in Germany”), these steps have not been adequately recognized internationally. A more transparent and open immigration system could address many of the barriers and obstacles employers and prospective immigrants currently face. A point system to manage – and to promote – immigration to Germany appears as a feasible and attractive option which German policymakers should seriously consider.

October 2012:

IZA background study for new World Development Report 2013

For the first time in decades, the new World Bank Development Report for 2013 concentrates on jobs stating that employment is a cornerstone of development. "Jobs are critical for reducing poverty, making cities work, and providing youth with alternatives to violence", states the new World Bank report. It follows the development agenda behind IZA's research programs on Employment and Development with partners in the World Bank, on the Growth and Labor Markets in Low Income Countries (GLM | LIC) program with the British government and on Labor Markets in Emerging and Transition Economies.

"This change in paradigm has been overdue. Creating and stabilizing jobs in the formal and informal economies is the key for the future of the planet. We are happy that we were able to contribute to this report," says IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann.

IZA has contributed an extended background study for the new World Development Report 2013 of the World Bank. Headed by IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann and Werner Eichhorst (IZA Deputy Director of Labor Policy), the study focuses on the role of vocational training for job creation among young people. The study highlights and assesses differences in the setup and functioning of the vocational education and training policies in major world regions as an important driver of differential labor market situations. It argues in favor of bringing academic education closer to the private sector to acquire experience with current work practices. Vocational schooling is seen as a crucial element and necessary precondition for the employability and productivity of young people. Dual vocational education and training should be strengthened, modernized, and made more market-oriented, bringing them closer to the needs of dynamically changing and evolving labor markets. Where informal employment is part of the economic and social reality, informal apprenticeships should be better articulated with the schooling system and the formal sector.

IZA and World Bank have jointly developed with other partners the online platform www.jobsknowledge.org, which propagates and discusses the role of jobs for economic development.

Read more:


New IZA research report calls for reform of mini-jobs

After the German government created more flexibility with respect to the so-called mini-jobs (low-paid part-time jobs which are largely exempt from taxes and social security contributions), the number of mini-jobbers rose from 4.2 million in 2002 to 7.4 million in 2011 – about 2.5 million of them work in mini-jobs on the side. At the same time, the number of regular jobs in the low-wage sector, especially in the restaurant and retail industries, has declined.

A new IZA research report commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation analyzes these trends. It finds substantial disincentives set by the current legislation, which come to bear particularly when the 400-euro threshold for monthly earnings from mini-jobs is exceeded. In these cases the marginal tax rate for additional income is extremely high. For secondary wage earners, mini-jobs therefore pose a major obstacle for (re-)entry into employment.

The report calls for a reform of the mini-job regulations as well as income taxation (married couple tax splitting) and finds that these would have a large positive impact on the labor market. If mini-jobs and income taxation were reformed at the same time, secondary wage earners, especially married women, would substantially expand their labor market participation and working hours.

Further information (in German):
- IZA Research Report No. 47
- Handelsblatt article

September 2012:

2012 IZA Prize in Labor Economics awarded to Richard Blundell

Richard Blundell | Klaus F. Zimmermann
On September 22, 2012, IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann awarded this year's IZA Prize in Labor Economics to Richard Blundell (University College London and IFS) during the Annual Conference of the European Association of Labour Economists (EALE) hosted by IZA in Bonn. The Prize honors Blundell's path-breaking contributions to the econometric analysis of labor markets and public policy reforms.

According to the Award Statement, "Professor Blundell has played a major role in the development of modern labor and policy analysis. His work is characterized by a focus on pressing questions in economic policy, the development of cutting-edge econometric methods to tackle such questions, and painstaking analysis of micro data. Blundell's contributions laid the foundations for the modern economic analysis of labor supply, consumer behavior, and policy reforms."

Richard Blundell holds the David Ricardo Chair of Political Economy at University College London. He is a graduate of the University of Bristol and London School of Economics. Since 1986 he has been Research Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), where he is also Director of the ESRC Centre for the Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy. He has been on the editorial board of many academic journals and is also one of the editors of the Mirrlees Review of Tax Reform which reported its findings in 2011. In a similar spirit, IZA recently proposed a tax reform concept for Germany, which is based largely on methodology developed by Richard Blundell. "Richard is a role model to many researchers across the globe. His work is a remarkable combination of academic excellence and policy relevance," said Zimmermann.

The IZA Prize in Labor Economics has been awarded annually since 2002 for outstanding contributions to the field. Worth 50,000 euros, it is regarded worldwide as the most prestigious science award in labor economics.
More information at www.iza.org/prize

At finance ministers' meeting in Stockholm: IZA Director calls for more labor market flexibility in the EU

On September 7, Germany's and Sweden's finance ministers, Wolfgang Schäuble and Anders Borg, met in Stockholm to discuss the international lessons to be learned from Germany's success in mastering the global economic and financial crisis. In an opening speech at the conference, IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann put both countries in a European perspective:

"Germany looks back on its largest post-war reform of the labor market and social security. Introduced ten years ago, the reform package contained many elements previously developed and tested in Scandinavia. This shows the importance of mutual learning in Europe. The success of Germany’s reforms, which were heavily disputed in the beginning, is now recognized around the world. By boosting labor market flexibility without sacrificing social security, these reforms made the labor market more crisis-resistant and helped prepare it for the demographic challenge. In a similar fashion, Sweden reformed its labor market and social policies, particular in the area of benefit payments. With unemployment around seven percent, both countries are significantly below the EU average of 10.2 percent. The rest of Europe should follow these examples and strengthen their efforts to create more labor market flexibility. While each country has to find its own custom-tailored solution, Sweden and Germany can certainly serve as role models."

IZA Program Director Marco Caliendo commented on the causes and consequences of high youth unemployment in large parts of the EU: "Many countries lack an effective system of vocational training and could learn from Germany’s dual system of apprenticeships and vocational schools. At the same time, self-employment should be stimulated because entrepreneurship is the key to future economic growth. In this context, start-ups programs for young and older entrepreneurs play an important role."


IZA Research Fellow Kaushik Basu appointed Chief Economist of the World Bank

Kaushik Basu
On October 1, 2012, IZA Research Fellow Kaushik Basu will start his term as the newly appointed Chief Economist of the World Bank. On leave from his position as Professor of Economics and the C. Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, Basu most recently served as Chief Economic Adviser of India's Ministry of Finance.

Kaushik Basu, who holds a PhD from the London School of Economics, founded the Centre for Development Economics at the Delhi School of Economics in 1992 and is a founding member of the Madras School of Economics. He has held visiting positions at Harvard University, Princeton University, the London School of Economics, and MIT. His numerous publications, including several IZA Discussion Papers, span development economics, welfare economics, industrial organization, and public economics. He has been an IZA Research Fellow since 2006 and will be the keynote speaker at the IZA/World Bank Conference on Employment and Development in New Delhi in November.

IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann welcomed Basu's appointment: "The World Bank certainly made the right choice by filling this prestigious position with a highly renowned scholar from a developing country whose excellent academic track record is complemented by vast experience in policy advice."

IZA Director Zimmermann at EALE 2012: Euro crisis countries need ten years for reforms to work

According to IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann, it will take ten years to get the Euro crisis countries back on track with inevitable reforms. "Experience in other countries, particularly Germany, suggests that it may take a decade for Greece, Italy and Spain to reap the benefits of the reforms that are now being implemented. We are at the beginning of a long process of structural change," said Zimmermann at the opening of the Annual Confernce of the European Association of Labour Economists (EALE 2012) in Bonn.

Hosted by IZA, more than 450 international experts meet in the former German parliament building for about 400 presentations in 69 parallel sessions, five poster sessions, and three keynotes [view program]. Zimmermann emphasized that Europe needs more flexible and open labor markets for the monetary union to succeed. "This is the painful lesson we are starting to learn," he said.

For more information read the IZA press release (in German).

IZA Fellow Tilman Brück appointed Director of SIPRI

Tilman Brück
The highly renowned Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has appointed IZA Research Fellow Tilman Brück as its new Director. He will assume his post in January 2013. Tilman Brück is a development economist and an internationally renowned expert on the economics of peace, security and post-war reconstruction. He is currently Professor of Development Economics at Humboldt-University of Berlin and Head of the Department of Development and Security at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). He has published widely on the role of conflict and insecurity as barriers to development. He has also been instrumental in focusing attention in academia and the policy community on the importance of studying the part played by individuals in war, peace and security. At 42 years of age, he is the youngest SIPRI Director and the first German national to hold this position since 1991.

An IZA Research Fellow since 2005, Brück has made numerous contributions to the IZA Discussion Paper Series and various conferences under IZA's Employment and Development program. IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann welcomed the appointment: "Tilman Brück is a perfect match for this important post. He is an excellent economist whose research is highly policy-oriented and explores the important nexus between economics, development and security. I wish him the best of success."

Successful in Washington DC

DIW DC, an independent nonprofit and nonpartisan scientific institute incorporated in Washington, DC, has made significant achievements during its years in operation servicing the scientific community and transatlantic relationships (view Six Years Report). As its objectives have been successfully reached, the founding director of the Institute, Dr. Amelie Constant, decided to close DIW DC and continue her endeavors elsewhere (read Statement and Testimonials).

IZA thanks DIW DC and Dr. Constant for the effective working relationship that has contributed significantly to IZA's extensive network in Washington. IZA has benefited from numerous collaborations with universities and research institutions in Washington including the World Bank and Georgetown University, and now has its largest local network of researchers worldwide in the U.S. capital.

IZA will continue to work closely with Dr. Constant (Bio at IZA) in research and policy advice. Dr. Constant became the IZA Program Director of Migration and was appointed Co-editor of the new IZA Journal of Migration published by Springer-Verlag. She also works as the Co-editor of the new IZA International Handbook on the Economics of Migration published by Edward Elgar.

August 2012:

Research in Labor Economics: New volume on informal employment

The Research in Labor Economics series, co-edited by IZA, recently published a volume on informal employment in emerging and transition economies. Informality and informal employment are wide-spread and growing phenomena in all regions of the world, in particular in low and middle income economies. A large part of economic activity in these countries is not registered or under-declared and many workers enter employment relationships that do not provide any or only partial protection, work with little or no physical capital, receive low wages and work under conditions that can be hazardous to their health. The volume sheds light on the incidence and persistence of informality and the role of institutions and government regulations. The articles offer insights into issues such as how labor and tax regulations determine the incidence of informality, whether reforms on tax and other regulations can reduce informal employment, to what extent informality occurs as a result of job separations, how persistent is informal employment, how informal employment can be detected and whether migration can be a substitute for informal employment.

- More about RLE
- View Table of Contents

Code of Ethics for international labor market research

IZA welcomes the intention of the leading association of German-speaking economists (VfS) to pass a Code of Ethics in order to make potential conflicts of interest transparent and to ensure objectivity in science. A similar initiative was started by the American Economic Association earlier this year. IZA, too, has developed an own code of conduct based on recommendations from a committee of international scholars. The "IZA Guiding Principles of Research Integrity" were communicated to the network and posted online in April 2012.

This IZA initiative has generated a lot of positive feedback from around the world. The debate on ethical codes is mainly focused on the sources of funding for researchers and their respective institutions. Another question is whether researchers might be influenced by party affiliations or other positions in politics and society. In this regard, economists' research and policy advice should be free from any restrictions.

As an independent, non-profit institution based in Germany, IZA also collects and communicates the research findings from its 1,200 network members in 45 countries. As a result, over 6,800 IZA Discussion Papers have already been published since 1998.

Thanks to a solid funding base provided by the Deutsche Post Foundation, IZA is independent from commissioned research and faces no restrictions concerning its research topics and advisory activities. At the same time, IZA competes for funding from various other foundations, government agencies and international organizations. IZA network members, however, are responsible for their own funding. They only benefit from IZA's coordination and communication activities. Consequently, IZA's research output reflects the broad knowledge base of today’s labor economics with all its facets and alternative scientific approaches. The Deutsche Post Foundation is named as IZA's main sponsor in various prominent places, including the IZA homepage and all IZA Discussion Papers. Other external funding is reported separately in the respective context.


IZA Policy Fellow Norbert Walter passed away

Norbert Walter †
We were deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of IZA Policy Fellow Norbert Walter.

Norbert Walter was among the founding members of the IZA Policy Fellow network in 2005. He was widely known and highly reputed as Chief Economist of Deutsche Bank and Managing Director of Deutsche Bank Research (1999-2009). Before joining Deutsche Bank in 1987, he was head of department at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. After retiring from Deutsche Bank in 2010, he founded WALTER & TÖCHTER Consult. Norbert Walter was an independent-minded thinker whose fresh and sharp analytical insights enriched many debates. His numerous publications, speeches and media appearances reflected his extraordinary rhetorical talent.

He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family.

July 2012:

Olivier Deschenes appointed IZA Program Director for "Environment and Employment"

O. Deschenes
On July 1, 2012, the environmental and labor economist Olivier Deschenes (University of California, Santa Barbara) became IZA Program Director for the newly established "Environment and Employment" research program. Deschenes is also affiliated with the Bren School of Environmental Management. He is an NBER Research Associate and Co-Associate Director of the University of California Center for Energy and Environmental Economics (UCE3). He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University. Among his research topics are the potential economic impact of climate change and the effect of energy prices on labor markets in the context of climate policies.

IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann: "We are very happy to be able to fill this important position with an internationally renowned scholar. Climate change and green energy create various challenges as well as opportunities for the global labor markets. The new IZA research program coordinated by Olivier Deschenes will shed light on this still understudied field."

IZA Director: Creating a transatlantic common market is the big project of the future

John F. Kennedy:
"We do not regard a strong
and united Europe as a rival
but as a partner."
As a consequence of the current economic and financial crisis, IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann calls for a strategic alliance between the United States and Europe. In an op-ed for the German daily DIE WELT on the 4th of July he writes: "The unstable, increasingly intertwined global economy needs a solid and reliable anchor. It takes a joint strategy for Europe and the U.S. to become the global growth engines again. A new world economic order cannot be established without close cooperation between the two major Western allies."

Zimmermann claims that a rapid implementation of a comprehensive free trade agreement would boost economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic by up to three percent. However, even 50 years after John F. Kennedy called for a “transatlantic partnership of equals” for the first time on July 4, 1962, there is still a long way to go. On important issues, such as economic and energy policy, the transatlantic gap has widened rather than closed. Quite a few decision-makers in Washington also seem to favor a global shift of power from the Atlantic to the Pacific region.

Nonetheless, according to Zimmermann, the U.S. and Europe are still the cornerstones of today’s global economy: they account for about one-third of global trade in goods and 40 percent of trade in services. About seven million U.S. workers are currently employed by European companies, while six million Europeans owe their jobs to U.S. investment.

Klaus F. Zimmermann: "After the U.S. elections in November, John F. Kennedy’s vision should be moved to the top of the agenda again. Europe and the United States must grow together to form an economic community of responsibility that offers orientation to the rest of the world. Creating a transatlantic common market is the big project of the future. After all, the United States and Europe share more common interests than most other regions in the world."

GLM-LIC program opens second call for proposals

The joint IZA/DFID program on Growth and Labour Markets in Low Income Countries (GLM-LIC) has just opened its second call for proposals. Promising research projects will be selected for funding with the overall objective of delivering a significant new body of evidence on growth and labor markets that will help shape policies in LICs. Through three competitive rounds of funding, up to 30 grants will be awarded for research projects of various sizes of institutions around the globe, with a substantial proportion of funds routed to research activities and capacity building in low-income countries. Projects selected in the first round will be announced on the program website in August. See glm-lic.iza.org for more information on the program and funding opportunities.

June 2012:

Professors Ritzen and Yoon receive prestigious book prize

The Korean translation by Hiwon Yoon (Seoul National University) of the book "A Chance for European Universities" authored by Jo Ritzen (IZA and Maastricht University) and published in Korean by Seoul National University Press has been selected as the best international book of 2011 by the Academy of Sciences of Korea under its program "Supporting the selection and distribution of outstanding books". This most privileged award in Korea carries a certificate and a cash prize equivalent to 10,000 euros.

[read more about the book]

Journal of Population Economics Celebrates 25 Years!

Zimmermann | Wetzel-Vandai | Tekin
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Journal of Population Economics. Since 1988, the Journal has published research that has advanced our knowledge and thinking in the field of population economics. The Journal's reputation has evolved substantially and it is now established as one of the most reputable outlets in economics and demography. As the journal of the European Society for Population Economics (ESPE), co-founded by IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann in 1988, the Journal of Population Economics is hosted by IZA and is traditionally also strongly supported by the IZA network.

Over the years, the number of submissions to the Journal has consistently grown and now exceeds 400 submissions per year. The Journal currently publishes about 60 articles and 1,500 pages per year. The accepted articles are now published in less than a year. Concurrently with its rising prestige, the Journal's impact factor has been consistently increasing over time. In 2010 the two-year impact factor was 0.948, ranking the Journal 116th among 305 journals listed in the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). As of June 2012, the RePEc aggregate ranking places the Journal 65th out of 1,093 journals listed in the database.

During the ESPE Annual Congress which took place in Berne, Switzerland, in June 2012, the anniversary was celebrated. Representing Springer Verlag, publisher of the Journal, Katharina Wetzel-Vandai honored Editor-in-Chief Klaus F. Zimmmermann and editorial board member Erdal Tekin for their great success and continued commitment.

IZA Director Zimmermann: EU summit should create financial incentives for sustainable reforms and job growth

By 2020, the European Union wants to create 18 million new jobs. Details are to be discussed at the EU Job and Growth Summit on June 28-29 in Brussels. Prior to the meeting, IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann made some concrete proposals for further steps to be taken, including stricter control mechanisms for balanced national budgets, as well as financial incentives for employment growth.

In an op-ed for the Financial Times Deutschland (June 26, 2012) Zimmermann calls for "providing incentives for innovation in future-oriented sectors, such as energy, health, mobility and information technologies." He also suggests financial rewards for progress in making the labor markets more flexible, employing younger workers earlier, retaining older workers longer, and raising women's participation rates. Zimmermann argues that remaining funds from the EU Structural Funds could be used for this purpose.

May 2012:

IZA participates in women&work congress in Bonn: "Future growth is female"

IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann addressed the women&work congress, which took place in Bonn on May 5, 2012. His contributions were also published as IZA Standpunkte No. 48. Zimmermann stressed that the demographic challenge for the German labor market can only be met if both female labor market participation and fertility are increased. The key to achieving this dual goal is improving the availability and quality of childcare.

"The fact that many women are employed below their qualifications has a negative impact on economic growth. This is why IZA has always called for focusing the various family benefits in Germany, which amount to 200 billion euros annually, on providing childcare at early ages in order to substantially improve women's career prospects," said Zimmermann. IZA had an exhibition booth at the congress to inform the participants about relevant IZA activities and recent publications including a study on "Taxing Childcare" (IZA DP No. 6440), a report on the pilot project for anonymized job applications (IZA RR No. 44) and a study on the labor market potential of women and mothers in Germany (IZA RR No. 39). IZA also actively promotes women's careers in research, e.g. through a successful Workshop "Women and Research" recently held at IZA.

IZA Director Zimmermann contributes to Deutsche Post DHL's Corporate Responsibility Day 2012

How can we improve collaboration between businesses, politics and non-governmental organizations in view of sustainable goals? Is capitalism an obsolete model? What consequence does demographics shift have on our future world of employment? These and other issues were discussed by leading experts from business, politics and society, including IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann, at the Corporate Responsibility Day organized by Deutsche Post DHL (view webcast of the event). Zimmermann highlighted the manifold demographic challenges from an academic perspective and called for a comprehensive policy agenda to address the labor market needs of an aging society.

Read also his blog entry at Delivering Tomorrow:
"The labor market in an aging society"

April 2012:

Vibrant Europe Forum calls for action plan

A high-ranking group of representatives from the fields of European politics, academics, and multinational firms calls for action to revitalize Europe and its socioeconomic structures. IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann is among the first signatories of a joint declaration of the "Vibrant Europe Forum (VEF)" which was initiated by IZA Senior Advisor Jo Ritzen, former Dutch minister and vice-president of the World Bank. The VEF aims at creating building blocks for an implementable vision for Europe most concretely for the period 2015-2020 with a perspective towards 2050. Labor market and social policies will be crucial to turn an increasingly weary Europe into a "vibrant" Europe.

Read more:

- VEF Press Release
- VEF Declaration "A Vibrant Europe for People"
- VEF Homepage

German pilot project for anonymized job applications: Presentation of the final report in Berlin

IZA Director Zimmermann in ARD-Tagesthemen news program
Together with Christine Lüders, head of the German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS), IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann presented the results of the first pilot project for anonymized job applications. This ADS project was scientifically accompanied by IZA and KOWA (European University Viadrina). The analysis showed that anonymization of attributes such as name, photograph, gender, age and ethnic origin of the applicant is effective at creating equal opportunity for all groups to get a job interview.

"Empirical studies point to a serious extent of discrimination in the German labor market. Both hidden and open discrimination lead to an enormous waste of potential. Particularly the unequal treatment of women, migrants and older job applicants causes substantial economic damage. In view of the increasing shortage of skilled labor we can no longer afford this waste of resources – not to mention the social and ethical aspects of unequal opportunity", said Klaus F. Zimmermann.

Read more (mostly in German):
- IZA press release (April 17, 2012)
- Final report of the pilot project (PDF, 2.8 MB)
- Newspaper article in Süddeutsche Zeitung (April 17, 2012)
- IZA Research Report No. 27 "Anonymisierte Bewerbungsverfahren"
- IZA DP No. 6100 "Anonymous Job Applications of Fresh Ph.D. Economists"
- IZA DP No. 4741 "Ethnic Discrimination in Germany's Labour Market: A Field Experiment"

15th anniversary of the IZA Summer School in Labor Economics

Participants of the 15th IZA Summer School
In 1998, IZA created the European Summer School in Labor Economics, which takes place once a year in the conference center of Deutsche Post at the lake of Ammersee in Bavaria/Germany. Its objective is to bring together a large number of Ph.D. students and senior researchers to study new areas in labor economics. The event provides students with the opportunity to discuss their own research ideas with established researchers in a relaxed and open atmosphere. Around 35 advanced European graduate students engaged in the preparation of a doctoral dissertation or approaching this stage are selected for participation each year.

This event series has set new standards for the promotion of junior academics around the world. More than 500 students have participated over the years. Most alumni have pursued successful careers in academia and research institutions while forming a particularly committed part of the IZA network.
This week the 15th event is celebrated at the conference center. In a speech to the participants [Download PDF] of the 2012 IZA Summer School, IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann outlined the vision of the event: "We intend to promote policy-oriented high-quality labor research and attract the very best young scholars to bring their ideas to bear for the IZA activities. We are grateful for the many stimulating contributions we have received over the years." He also thanked the committed organizers of the 15 events, Thomas Bauer (RWI, University of Bochum and IZA; 1998 -2003), Ana Rute Cardoso (IAE Barcelona and IZA; 2003 - 2008), Konstantinos Tatsiramos (University of Leicester and IZA; 2008 - 2011), and Anne Gielen (Rotterdam University and IZA; since 2011) for their devoted efforts which made this event series an outstanding IZA product.

March 2012:

Andrew Oswald lectured at universities in Australia and Asia

In February 2012, IZA's Acting Research Director Andrew J. Oswald gave a series of lectures in Australia and Asia. In addition to talks at Melbourne University and Monash University, he gave the 9th SER Distinguished Public Lecture at NTU University in Singapore (photo) and the Gruen Public Lecture on "Herd Behaviour and Keeping up with the Joneses" [download slides] at Australian National University in Canberra. Other research topics he spoke about included biomarkers and well-being, as well as happiness and labor productivity.

Humboldt Research Award for IZA Fellow Daniel S. Hamermesh

Daniel S. Hamermesh
IZA Visiting Research Fellow Daniel S. Hamermesh (University of Texas at Austin) recently received a Humboldt Research Award from the Germany-based Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The prestigious award honors eminent foreign researchers at the peak of their academic careers whose fundamental discoveries, new theories or insights have had a significant impact on their discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.

Daniel Hamermesh has been closely affiliated with IZA since its foundation in 1998 and has contributed a great deal to the institute's success. He coordinated IZA's research activities on The Future of Labor as Program Director for a decade before serving as Director of Research for two years. He has organized numerous conferences and workshops, above all the highly successful IZA/SOLE Transatlantic Meetings. Over the past years he has continued to spend extended periods at IZA as a Visiting Research Fellow.

Hamermesh specializes in labor demand, social programs, academic labor markets and unusual applications in everyday life. Most recently he has focused his research on the economic benefits of beauty. His new book "Beauty Pays" demonstrates how society favors the beautiful – and how better-looking people experience higher salaries and benefits in all aspects of life. Hamermesh teaches theory in a way that makes economics useful in everyday life. He applies economic principles to various topics in his contribution to the Freakonomics blog.

IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann took Hamermesh's recent stay in Bonn as an opportunity to congratulate him on receiving the award: "I can hardly think of anyone more deserving of this honor. With his boundless creative energy and uplifting spirit, Dan Hamermesh is a constant source of inspiration for our young researchers. We are deeply grateful to Dan for his invaluable contributions to IZA, and we look forward to many more years of fruitful collaboration."

IZA introduces the IZA@DC Young Scholar Program

Outstanding students from Ph.D. programs outside of the U.S. now have an excellent opportunity to get in close touch with IZA Research Fellows from the Washington DC metro area. Under the annual IZA@DC Young Scholar Program, a joint initiative with the Georgetown University Economics Department and its Georgetown Center of Economic Research (GCER), selected students will attend lectures presented by some of the world's leading labor economists. During the one-week program directed by Georgetown University economics professor Francis Vella, they will also be able to meet with the speakers and discuss their own research in a very personal atmosphere.

"IZA has always been dedicated to promoting talented junior researchers. This new program gives young scholars a unique opportunity to create valuable networks and start collaborating on joint research projects," said IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann.

The First IZA@DC Young Scholar Program takes place from October 22-26, 2012, hosted by Georgetown University.
For details on the selection process see the call for nominations at: www.iza.org/conference_files/YSP2012

January 2012:

IZA World of Labor: Unique cooperation with Bloomsbury to launch innovative online portal for labor economics

Klaus F. Zimmermann | Nigel Newton
IZA and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc are delighted to announce the development of IZA World of Labor. This innovative online portal will provide a comprehensive, reliable and up-to-date information resource aimed at labor economists, decision makers, and other professionals in labor economics around the world.

Building on IZA's international expertise, this resource will be developed for IZA by Bloomsbury and will involve hundreds of scholars worldwide. It will develop into a unique repository of data, best practice and thought leadership presented in a clear and accessible way. The online platform will be available free of charge and there will be an accompanying range of books in both in print and electronic formats. IZA World of Labor will adhere to the highest scholarly standards of peer-review process.

IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann: "I am delighted that this unique project will make evidence based scholarly information available to a global audience, which is central to IZA's mission. The complex interdependencies of an increasingly globalized world require a new form of analysis and explanation which this portal will provide."

Bloomsbury's Chief Executive Nigel Newton: "We are very proud to partner with this outstanding research institute in Germany. We are looking forward to joining our experience in digital reference publishing with IZA's in-depth expertise in labor economics in order to provide decision makers around the world with a wealth of freely accessible and reliable labor market information."

IZA Program Director Hartmut Lehmann is President-elect of ACES

IZA Program Director Hartmut Lehmann has been voted President-elect of the Association for Comparative Economic Studies (ACES) for the year 2012. He will be President of ACES in 2013, when he will organize the eight sessions of the association at the ASSA meetings in Philadelphia (January 3-5, 2014). ACES is the leading scholarly organization for the support of comparative economic studies. Its world-wide membership includes academics, economists and political scientists employed by international agencies, governments and banks as well as policy makers.

Book recommendation: Working Hard, Working Poor - A Global Journey

IZA Fellow Gary Fields (Cornell University) recently published the book "Working Hard, Working Poor: A Global Journey". Based on decades of experience studying labor markets in developing nations, Gary takes a long, measured look at the world's three billion who live on less than 2.50 dollars per day, and shows how employment and self-employment prospects can be improved. Acknowledging the surfeit of literature on ending poverty, this book goes beyond foreign aid and government intervention to look at the labor force itself and how it can be helped to earn its own way out of poverty.

Nobel laureate George Akerlof: "Working Hard, Working Poor addresses the world's greatest economic problem.... There is not enough wage employment for those who want to work. Gary Fields, with great sensitivity, puts us in their shoes (insofar as they have them) and shows how we can increase and improve employment to alleviate their suffering. We all have a moral responsibility to read and to understand his message."

[more information at Oxford University Press]

Georgetown University and IZA sign collaboration contract

On January 24, 2012, Francis Vella, Professor, Chair of the Economics Department & Villani Chair in Economics, and Gerald Mara, Dean of the Graduate School & Associate Provost, Research, of Georgetown University, signed a collaboration contract with IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann on the premises of Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Vella is also a long-term Research Fellow of IZA and Co-Director of the newly founded Georgetown Center for Economic Research (GCER) together with Professor Roger Lagunoff, who was also present at the ceremony.

The memorandum of understanding documents the intense collaborations between both institutions over the last years in a series of activities and outlines how they have decided to continue and extend this collaboration into a number of new areas. An important purpose is to strengthen the exchange of faculty and graduate students and to foster participation in workshops and conferences. The partners will engage in research and teaching issues and collaborate on themes of policy relevance using the GCER.

Awards presentation at IZA reception in Chicago

Altmann | Zimmermann | Wibral
At the traditional IZA reception during the Annual Meeting of the Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA), which took place in Chicago this year, IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann presented the 2011 IZA Young Labor Economist Award to the authors of the article "Gift Exchange and Workers' Fairness Concerns: When Equality Is Unfair" (Journal of the European Economic Association, 2010). Representing the team of authors, which also included Johannes Abeler and Sebastian Kube, Steffen Altmann and Matthias Wibral attended the award ceremony in Chicago.
Polachek | Whitfield | Tatsiramos
During the same event, IZA Fellows Solomon Polachek (Binghamton University) and Konstantinos Tatsiramos (University of Leicester) received the Leading Book Series Editors in the Emerald Literati Network 2011 Awards for Excellence in recognition of the outstanding work they have put into the Research in Labor Economics series. The prize was presented by Emma Whitfield, Commissioning Editor at Emerald.

Read more about:
- IZA Young Labor Economist Award
- Research in Labor Economics

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