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Distinguished economist Professor Bernd Fitzenberger of the University of Freiburg will visit Australia at the invitation of the HR Nicholls Society to speak on the German model for labour relations and its contribution to competitiveness especially after the Global Financial Crisis.
Professor Fitzenberger’s Address, an examination of the German model, is apt in the context of the planned review, by the Productivity Commission, of Australia’s labour relations system and of the uncompetitiveness of many sectors of Australian industry.
Bernd Fitzenberger is a Full Professor of Statistics and Economics at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg. He has a PhD in Economics from Stanford University and a Master of Science in Statistics.
Professor Fitzenberger’s areas of study include: trends in wage inequality – trade unions, coverage, union density, wages, and employment – evaluation of labour market programs – gender speciﬁc wage and employment trends. He has been co-editor of the Journal for Labour Market Research since July 2005.
His recent awards include a Special award of the Students Committee for Economics at the University of Freiburg (granted for commitment to teaching) in March 2014 and in June 2011 he shared the Bertha Ottenstein Prize for fostering gender equality.
In 2014 he co-authored ‘From Sick Man of Europe to Economic Superstar: Germany’s Resurgent Economy.’ Professor Fitzenberger (and his co-authors) contend that the governance structure of German labour market institutions enabled them to react flexibly during a period of extraordinary economic circumstances and that this has been the main reason for Germany’s economic success over the last decade.
The German experience of labour markets being able to assist in managing economic change has potential relevance for Australia as it adjusts to a downturn in demand for commodities.