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Do Works Councils Inhibit Investment?

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

Abstract

Theory suggests that firms confront a hold-up problem in dealing with workplace unionism: unions will appropriate a portion of the quasi-rents stemming from long-lived capital. As a result, firms may be expected to limit their exposure to rent-seeking by reducing investments. The U.S. evidence points clearly in this direction. The authors of this paper investigate whether the same is true for German works councils, the analogue of workplace unionism in that nation. Using establishment panel data for the years 1998-2003, they find no evidence that a works council's formation adversely affected investment or that its dissolution favorably affected investment.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 60 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
Pages: 187-203

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:60:y:2007:i:2:p:187-203

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References

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  1. Olaf H¸bler & Uwe Jirjahn, 2003. "Works Councils and Collective Bargaining in Germany: The Impact on Productivity and Wages," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(4), pages 471-491, 09.
  2. Wagner, Joachim & Schnabel, Claus & Schank, Thorsten & Addison, John T., 2005. "Do Works Councils Inhibit Investment?," Discussion Papers 32, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  3. Machin, Stephen & Wadhwani, Sushil, 1991. "The Effects of Unions of Investment and Innovation: Evidence from WIRS," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 324-30, March.
  4. Addison, John T & Chilton, John B, 1998. "Self-Enforcing Union Contracts: Efficient Investment and Employment," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71(3), pages 349-69, July.
  5. Steve Bond & Dietmar Harhoff & John Van Reenen, 1999. "Investment, R&D and financial constraints in Britain and Germany," IFS Working Papers W99/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Hirsch, Barry T. & Prasad, Kislaya, 1995. "Wage-employment determination and a union tax on capital: Can theory and evidence be reconciled?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 61-71, April.
  7. Addison, John T. & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "The Course of Research into the Economic Consequences of German Works Councils," IZA Discussion Papers 878, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Menezes-Filho, Naercio & Van Reenen, John, 2003. "Unions and Innovation: A Survey of the Theory and Empirical Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3792, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Barry T. Hirsch, 1991. "Labor Unions and the Economic Performance of Unions," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number luepf, December.
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  12. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "German Works Councils Old and New: Incidence, Coverage and Determinants," IZA Discussion Papers 495, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  14. Bond, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 2007. "Microeconometric Models of Investment and Employment," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 65 Elsevier.
  15. Cameron W. Odgers & Julian R. Betts, 1997. "Do unions reduce investment? Evidence from Canada," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(1), pages 18-36, October.
  16. Connolly, Robert A & Hirsch, Barry T & Hirschey, Mark, 1986. "Union Rent Seeking, Intangible Capital, and Market Value of the Firm," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 567-77, November.
  17. Paz Espinosa, Maria & Rhee, Changyong, 1989. "Efficient Wage Bargaining as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(3), pages 565-88, August.
  18. Baldwin, Carliss Y, 1983. "Productivity and Labor Unions: An Application of the Theory of Self-Enforcing Contracts," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(2), pages 155-85, April.
  19. Addison, John T & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2001. "Work Councils in Germany: Their Effects on Establishment Performance," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 659-94, October.
  20. Bronars, Stephen G & Deere, Donald R, 1993. "Unionization, Incomplete Contracting, and Capital Investment," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66(1), pages 117-32, January.
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