Demographic Change and Regional Labour Markets


In the public discussion about demographic change, i.e. the simultaneous shrinkage and aging of society, the effects of demographic development on the social security systems and the potential consequences of a shortage in skilled labor force for the economic development of Germany are predominant. The regional perspective is often neglected both in the public as well as in the scientific discussion, although the demographic change shows a considerable regional heterogeneity. Particularly for a country such as Germany affected to a large degree by this effect, the low number of comprehensive studies on demographic change at the regional level is surprisingly scarce. There are various theoretical considerations on the effects of demographic change on regional labor markets, as well as on the potential adaptation responses of the workforce and enterprises. However, the empirical evidence on the regional labor market effects of demographic change or the adaptation reactions is comparatively rare - not least due to the lack of availability of suitable data - and is mainly concentrated on case studies of individual regions.

On the basis of newly available data sets, the employment statistics at the Research Data Center (FDZ) of the Federal Agency for Employment at the IAB, the migration statistics of the residents' offices, which can be obtained via the Federal Statistical Office, as well as the annual georeferenced property price indices (RWI-GEO-RED) of the FDZ Ruhr at the RWI, all of which can be connected at a small-scale regional level, more detailed analyses are now possible. The following questions are at the center of the research project and are to be answered empirically: (i) What are the demographic patterns in Germany in terms of regional differences and similarities? (ii) Does the regionally heterogeneous age structure lead to age-specific internal migration within Germany and how is the influence of economic and socioeconomic factors on this process? (iii) How do firms react to the demographic structure of their location with regard to their employment policy? How does the changed age structure affect wages (iv)?

In addition, the project aims to shed some light on demographic polarization as well as the labor market participation of women and the elderly. The former is to be investigated, in addition to the internal migration, external migration is considered and we examine, to what extent these processes amplify or mitigate the spatial demographic polarization in Germany. The second question is to clarify whether possible productivity losses due to the aging society are compensated by the participation of women and the elderly.

Principal Investigators

Prof. Dr. Thomas K. Bauer (Ruhr University Bochum)

Associated Junior Researchers

Christian Rulff (Ruhr University Bochum)
Kathrin Schulze (Ruhr University Bochum)
Michael Tamminga (Ruhr University Bochum)
Dr. rer. oec. Sandra Schaffner (RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung e.V., Essen)