After being called the sick man of Europe in the early 2000s, Germany became Europe’s economic powerhouse. The Hartz reforms, implemented in 2003–2005, played a crucial role in the liberalization of the inflexible German labour market.

By stimulating labour, supply and demand as well as the efficiency of the matching process, the reforms contributed to a sustained reduction of unemployment in Germany throughout the last decade. But were the Hartz reforms really a “Wunderreform”?

This report summarizes and discusses the effects of the Hartz reforms in detail with a special focus on Hartz II, which affected mainly marginal employment. To what extent did the Hartz-reforms and particularly the reform of the so-called mini- and midi-jobs contribute to the reduction of unemployment in Germany?

This policy paper is published as a part of Fores’ project about the labour market of the future.

Anita Fichtl is a political scientist working as expert for Labour markets, Family policy and Demographic change at the Ifo Center for Labour Market Research and Family Economics at the Ifo Institute in Munich.

We also arranged a seminar attended by Lars Calmfors, one of Sweden’s most well respected economists, among others.

Fler enkla jobb: vad kan vi lära av tyska mini-jobs?