Characteristics contributing to low- and minimum-wage labour in Germany

Faculty/Professorship: Labour Studies  
Author(s): Dütsch, Matthias ; Himmelreicher, Ralf
Corporate Body: Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Professur für Arbeitswissenschaft
Publisher Information: Bamberg : Otto-Friedrich-Universität
Year of publication: 2022
Pages: 31 ; Illustrationen, Diagramme
Series ; Volume: Professur für Arbeitswissenschaft: Working Paper ; 22 
Year of first publication: 2018
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.20378/irb-54129
Licence: Creative Commons - CC BY - Attribution 4.0 International 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-irb-541293
In this article we examine the characteristics of individuals, companies, and industries involved in low-wage labour in Germany to understand their impact on the risks workers face of earning hourly wages that are below the minimum-wage and low-wage thresholds. To identify these characteristics, we use the Structure of Earnings Survey 2014 (SES). The SES is a mandatory survey of companies which provides information on wages and working hours from about 1 million jobs and nearly 70,000 compa-nies from all industries. This data allows us to present the first systematic analysis of the interaction of individual-, company-, and industry-level factors on minimum- and low-wage working in Germany. Using a descriptive analysis, we first give an overview of typical low-paying jobs, companies, and in-dustries. Second, we use random intercept-only models to estimate the explanatory power of the indi-vidual, company, and industry levels. One main finding is that the influence of individual characteristics on wage levels is often overstated: Less than 25 percent of the differences in the employment situa-tion regarding being employed in minimum-wage or low-wage jobs can be attributed to the individual level. Third, we performed logistic and linear regression estimations to assess the risks of having a minimum- or low-wage job and the distance between a worker’s actual earnings and the minimum- and low-wage thresholds. Our findings allow us to conclude that several determinants related to indi-viduals appear to suggest a high low-wage incidence, but in fact lose their explanatory power once controls are added for factors relating to the companies or industries that employ these individuals.
GND Keywords: Deutschland; Niedrigeinkommen
Keywords: Germany, low-wage labour, minimum-wage labour, characteristics
DDC Classification: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology  
RVK Classification: MS 4860   
Type: Workingpaper
Release Date: 7. June 2022

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