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Works Councils in the Production Process

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  • John T. Addison
  • Thorsten Schank
  • Claus Schnabel
  • Joachim Wagner

Abstract

This paper uses data from a nationally representative panel of establishments to estimate the effects of German works councils on firm performance, 1997-2000. We analyze the impact of this institution on sales and sales growth using OLS and fixed effect estimates of a translog production function as well as by employing a model in first differences. With cross-sectional and pooled data, the strong pro-productivity effects of works councils noted in the recent literature prove sensitive to disaggregation – most notably for plants with 21 to 100 employees, where the powers of the council are a datum – even if the coefficient estimates for the works council variable are often substantive. However, the fixed effects estimator yields much smaller works council effects that are (weakly) statistically significant in only one instance, while productivity changes do not differ between plants with and without a works council in the first differences specification. We conclude that reports of positive works council effects on productivity have been much exaggerated. That said, there is no evidence that works councils adversely affect firm performance, as suggested by earlier empirical literature based on small samples of firms.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Duncker & Humblot, Berlin in its journal Schmollers Jahrbuch.

Volume (Year): 126 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 251-283

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Handle: RePEc:aeq:aeqsjb:v126_y2006_i2_q2_p251-283

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Web: http://www.duncker-humblot.de/index.php/zeitschriften/wirtschafts-undsozialwissenschaften/schmollersjahrbuch-1.html

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Cited by:
  1. Joachim Wagner, 2011. "One-third Codetermination at Company Supervisory Boards and Firm Performance in German Manufacturing Industries: First Direct Evidence from a New Type of Enterprise Data," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 131(1), pages 91-106.
  2. John T. Addison & Lutz Bellmann & Thorsten Schank & Paulino Teixeira, 2005. "The Demand for Labor: An Analysis Using Matched Employer-Employee Data from the German LIAB. Will the High Unskilled Worker Own-Wage Elasticity Please Stand Up?," GEMF Working Papers 2005-13, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  3. Beckmann, Michael & Kräkel, Matthias, 2012. "Internal rent seeking, works councils, and optimal establishment size," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 711-726.
  4. Joachim Wagner, 2007. "Markteintritte, Marktaustritte und Produktivität Empirische Befunde zur Dynamik in der Industrie," AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 193-203, December.
  5. Ellguth, Peter & Gerner, Hans-Dieter & Stegmaier, Jens, 2012. "Wage bargaining in Germany : the role of works councils and opening clauses," IAB Discussion Paper 201205, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  6. Addison, John T. & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "The course of research into the economic consequences of German works councils," Discussion Papers 22, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  7. Philipp Ehrl, 2011. "Agglomeration economies with consistent productivity estimates," Working Papers 113, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  8. Adelino Fortunato & Daniel Murta, 2005. "Horizontal Differentiation and the survival of Train and Coach modes in medium range passenger transport, a welfare analysis comprising economies of scope and scale," GEMF Working Papers 2005-15, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  9. Blandina Oliveira & Adelino Fortunato, 2005. "The Dynamics of the Growth of Firms: Evidence from the Services Sector," GEMF Working Papers 2005-04, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  10. David Fairris & Philippe Askenazy, 2010. "Works Councils and Firm Productivity in France," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 209-229, September.

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