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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 29 | 3. Juni 2013
Priority Programme “The German Labour Market in a Globalised World: Challenges through Trade, Technology, and Demographics” (SPP 1764)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established a new Priority Programme entitled “The German Labour Market in a Globalised World: Challenges through Trade, Technology, and Demographics” (SPP 1764). The programme will run for an initial period of three years and is extendable to six years.

The central purpose of the proposed Priority Programme is to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges facing labour markets in Germany in particular and throughout Europe in a global context. The programme addresses pertinent research issues on the link between trade, technology, and demographic changes as they affect wages and employment. In an international perspective, the programme will analyse empirically the way the German labour market works with particular emphasis on labour market flows, on the role of institutions and policies, on the explanation for the increase in inequality, on demographic changes, and on the links to education and important non-economic motives and outcomes. An understanding of these issues is key for policies relating to skills development of the population at all ages, family issues and gender in the labour market, demography, child development, health, social policies, crime, immigration, as well as the macroeconomic performance of the labour market. The challenges posed by competition and potential immigration combined with demographic developments will not only affect various labour market groups in different ways (with important consequences for inequality), but also force human resource management practices to adapt.

While being based in the field of labour economics, the Priority Programme will take an interdisciplinary approach linking economic research with labour market research in sociology and research in human resource management as part of business administration. Through its interdisciplinary approach, the programme will broaden the scope of traditional labour economics by analysing the labour market effects of pre-labour market skill development and a broad set of motives driving individual decision-making, by investigating hypotheses from different disciplines, by analysing the link between labour market and non-labour market outcomes, and by integrating the firm’s management perspective. Building on theoretical contributions, the programme mainly involves empirical research making use of large micro data sets with an emphasis on a comprehensive descriptive analysis or on estimating causal effects in the treatment-control group paradigm. A particular focus will be given to projects that investigate labour market flows from micro- and macroeconomic perspectives. The research may also involve lab or field experiments. The access to individual-level and firm-level labour market data of exceptional quality, the infrastructure to run state-of-the-art experiments, and the close link to the policy debate provide a fertile ground for this Priority Programme.

The programme aims to make progress in areas of labour market research. The core research areas where the programme invites proposals are:

  • technology, globalisation, tasks, wages,

  • education, vocational training, demographic changes, cognitive and non-cognitive skills, early childhood development,

  • group differences in labour market outcomes,

  • imperfect competition, institutions, government policy, unemployment,

  • human resource management and organisational change, and

  • interaction between the labour market and non-labour market outcomes.

The programme was initiated by Gerard van den Berg (University of Mannheim), Christian Dustmann (University College London), Bernd Fitzenberger (University of Freiburg), Markus Gangl (Goethe University Frankfurt), Kornelius Kraft (Technical University Dortmund), Patrick Puhani (Leibniz University Hannover), and Alexandra Spitz-Oener (Humboldt University Berlin).

While the programme has its focus in labour economics, its goals are best met by a broad collaboration involving researchers from different disciplines. The programme invites researchers in the fields of labour economics, sociology, and human resource management as well as related areas to submit proposals.

Proposals for the first three-year period can be submitted by 31 October 2013 through the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system “elan”. In this system, please select “SPP 1764” when submitting your proposal. All proposals must be written in English.

The review is planned to be held in February/March 2014 in Freiburg.

Further information

The DFG’s electronic portal “elan” can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in DFG forms 54.01en and 50.05en, part B, which can be found on the DFG’s website at:

If you intend to submit a proposal within the Priority Programme, please send a short message to the programme’s coordinator soon. Later on, in addition to the DFG submission via “elan”, please send a copy of the full project proposal to the programme’s coordinator.

For further scientific information, please contact the Priority Programme’s coordinator:

For administrative enquiries please contact:

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