Policy Challenges

The interplay between labor market policies and institutions and ongoing trends related to the changing world of work is at the core of IZA’s research team “Policy Challenges”. Globalization, international migration, demographic change, technological progress and climate change present serious challenges to policy-makers around the world. They have to respond to questions arising from rapidly transforming skill demands, changing employment and income opportunities as well as novel workplace environments faced by workers and firms. At the same time, policy measures may have important and potentially unintended consequences for the future transformation of the world of work.

Currently, our research activities focus on the following questions:

  • How do workers and firms respond to labor market policy reforms?
  • What are the labor market consequences of migration episodes for natives and migrants and how can policy measures mitigate them?
  • What is the impact of environmental factors and policies on human capital and labor market outcomes?



Dr. Nico Pestel (Team Leader)


Selected ongoing projects

Job Search in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Impact of Job Disruptions on Households During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Minimum Wage Effects on Employment and Unemployment in Germany

Evaluation of Labor Market Programs to Integrate Refugees in Germany

Firm Demand for Flexible Employment: Evidence from 60 Million Job Adverts

Migration Shocks and Housing: Evidence from the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Jordan


Selected Publications

Labour Supply during Lockdown and a "New Normal": The Case of the Netherlands, IZA Discussion Paper No. 13623

Pandemic Meets Pollution: Poor Air Quality Increases Deaths by COVID-19, IZA Discussion Paper No. 13418

Evidence on Job Search Models from a Survey of Unemployed Workers in Germany, IZA Discussion Paper No. 13189

Labour Supply in the Early Stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Empirical Evidence on Hours, Home Office, and Expectations, IZA Discussion Paper No. 13158

Disincentive Effects of Unemployment Benefits and the Role of Caseworkers, IZA Discussion Paper No. 9868 (2016), forthcoming in: Journal of Public Economics, 2020, 182

The German Statutory Minimum Wage and Its Effects on Regional Employment and Unemployment, IZA Policy Paper No. 145 (2019), forthcoming in: Journal of Economics and Statistics

Immigrant Voters, Taxation and the Size of the Welfare StateIZA Discussion Paper No. 11725

Digital Challenges for the Welfare State, IZA Policy Paper No. 134 (2017), published in: CESifo Forum, 2017, 18 (4)

Indoor Air Quality and Cognitive Performance, IZA Discussion Paper No. 12632

Low Emission Zones for Better Health: Evidence from German Hospitals, IZA Discussion Paper No. 12545

Productivity Effects of Air Pollution: Evidence from Professional Soccer, IZA Discussion Paper No. 8964; revised version published in: Labour Economics, 2017, 48




The Economics of Long-Term Care and Healthy Aging