Benjamin Schoefer

Assistant Professor of Economics
Department of Economics
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880

office: Evans Hall, room 677



My side project: I run the German Economic Policy Roundtable (Wirtschaftspolitik-Diskussionsrunde). Most members are academics, policy practitioners, journalists, think tank researchers. (German) Twitter link for sign-up instructions here.

Policy Papers, Selected Presentations, Discussions, etc. (Under Construction)

Equitable Wage Growth: Macroeconomic Perspectives

Invited book chapter
in: "Boosting Wages for U.S. Workers in the New Economy"
(Washington Center for Equitable Growth/US Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment 2021 Essay Series) Complete book (PDF) Complete book (web version)

Employment Adjustment and COVID: Some Thoughts on Theory and Reality

Invited short talk connecting academic and policy perspectives
CEPR-IZA-OECD Workshop: Employment Support Strategies during COVID-19
October 15, 2020

Codetermination and Power in the Workplace

Invited policy paper, August 2021 draft
Economic Policy Institute: EPI Unequal Power Project essay series
with Simon Jäger and Shakked Noy

Selected Work in Progress

The German Model: Labor Market and Corporate Governance Institutions

(with Simon Jäger)
Invited for consideration in the Journal of Economic Perspectives

Research Papers

The Financial Channel of Wage Rigidity

Working paper, August 2021
(substantially revised update of previous version, the 2015 dissertation chapter)

Worker Beliefs About Rents and Outside Options

Working paper, July 2021

Reservation Raises: The Aggregate Labor Supply Curve at the Extensive Margin

Working paper, updated April 2021, substantially revised with new GSOEP results

Voice at Work

Working paper, updated June 2021

Productivity, Place, and Plants

Review of Economics and Statistics, Revise and Resubmit, 2021

A Congestion Theory of Unemployment Fluctuations

American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, Revise and Resubmit, 2021

Marginal Jobs and Job Surplus: A Test of the Efficiency of Separations

Review of Economic Studies, Resubmitted, August 2021 (Revise and Resubmit)

What Does Codetermination Do?

ILR Review, Accepted
with Shakked Noy and Simon Jäger

Click to expand abstract

We provide a comprehensive overview of codetermination, i.e., worker representation in firms' governance and management. We cover the institution's history, implementation, and the best available evidence on its economic impacts. We argue that existing quasi-experimental estimates suggest that codetermination has zero or very small positive effects on worker and firm outcomes at the partial-equilibrium firm level. In addition, we test for general-equilibrium effects of codetermination laws using novel cross-country event studies exploiting a series of codetermination reforms between the 1960s and 2010s, and find no evidence that codetermination laws shift aggregate economic outcomes or the quality of industrial relations. We offer three potential explanations of the institution’s limited impact. First, existing codetermination laws convey relatively little authority to workers. Second, countries with codetermination laws have high baseline levels of informal worker involvement in decision-making, independently of formal codetermination. Third, codetermination laws may interact with other labor market institutions, such as union representation and collective bargaining. We close by discussing implications of these facts for recent codetermination proposals in the United States.

Paying Outsourced Labor: Direct Evidence from Linked Temp Agency-Worker-Client Data

Review of Economics and Statistics, Accepted

Hysteresis from Employer Subsidies

Journal of Public Economics, 200, 2021, 104459

Labor in the Boardroom

Quarterly Journal of Economics, 136(2), 2021, 669-725
Editor's Choice (lead article)

Wages and the Value of Nonemployment

Quarterly Journal of Economics, 135(4), 2020, 1905-1963

Jobs and Matches: Quits, Replacement Hiring, and Vacancy Chains

American Economic Review: Insights, 2(1), 2020, 101-124

Payroll Taxes, Firm Behavior, and Rent Sharing: Evidence from a Young Workers' Tax Cut in Sweden

American Economic Review 109(5), 2019, 1717-1763

Regulation and taxation: A complementarity

Journal of Comparative Economics 38.4 (2010): 381-94

The Short-Run Aggregate Labor Supply Curve with Long-Term Jobs (working paper, 2018; with Preston Mui)

A Price-Theoretical Framework for Fluctuations in Matching Models (2017; with Yusuf Mercan)