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German Works Councils in the Production Process

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Author Info

  • Addison, John T.

    ()
    (University of South Carolina)

  • Schank, Thorsten

    ()
    (University of Mainz)

  • Schnabel, Claus

    ()
    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Wagner, Joachim

    ()
    (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

Abstract

In a sharp break with past German research, some recent estimates have suggested that plants with work councils have 25 to 30 per cent higher productivity than their works-councilfree counterparts. Such findings can only serve to buttress the strong theoretical and policy interest in the German institution, not least in an environment of union decline. In the present paper, we estimate the effects of works councils on productivity, 1997-2000, using a nationally representative German data set. We recoup the works council effect by estimating translog production functions, stochastic frontier production functions, and a model in first differences. Once we focus on a core sample of establishments with 21 to 100 employees in which the powers of the works council are a datum, it emerges that the positive productivity differential is a chimera. By the same token, neither is the effect negative. This result is important in its own right given the sharply opposing findings of past empirical research and the partisan positions these have helped sustain.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 812.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Schmollers Jahrbuch: Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften/Journal of Applied Social Science Studies, 2006, 126 (2), 251-283
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp812

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Related research

Keywords: production functions; works councils; Germany; panel data;

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References

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Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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  1. Freeman, Richard B, 1976. "Individual Mobility and Union Voice in the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 361-68, May.
  2. Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "Works Councils – Sand or Grease in the Operation of German Firms?," IZA Discussion Papers 648, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. 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.
  4. Fitzroy, Felix R & Kraft, Kornelius, 1987. "Efficiency and Internal Organization: Works Councils in West German Firms," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 54(216), pages 493-504, November.
  5. 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).
  6. Zwick, Thomas & Wolf, Elke, 2002. "Reassessing the Impact of High Performance Workplaces," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-07, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "The reform of the German works constitution act: a critical assessment," Discussion Papers 16, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  8. Addison, John T & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 1996. "German Works Councils, Profits, and Innovation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 555-82.
  9. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1994. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Working Papers 4918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Oliver E. Williamson & Michael L. Wachter & Jeffrey E. Harris, 1975. "Understanding the Employment Relation: The Analysis of Idiosyncratic Exchange," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(1), pages 250-278, Spring.
  11. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1978. "Trade Unions in the Production Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 355-78, June.
  12. Denny, Michael & Fuss, Melvyn A, 1977. "The Use of Approximation Analysis to Test for Separability and the Existence of Consistent Aggregates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 404-18, June.
  13. FitzRoy, Felix R & Kraft, Kornelius, 1985. "Unionization, Wages and Efficiency: Theories and Evidence from the U.S. and West Germany," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(4), pages 537-54.
  14. Schmidt, Peter & Sickles, Robin C, 1984. "Production Frontiers and Panel Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 367-74, October.
  15. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "The Long Awaited Reform of the German Works Constitution Act," IZA Discussion Papers 422, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Christensen, Laurits R & Jorgenson, Dale W & Lau, Lawrence J, 1973. "Transcendental Logarithmic Production Frontiers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 55(1), pages 28-45, February.
  17. John T. Addison & Lutz Bellmann & Arnd Kölling, 2004. "Works Councils and Plant Closings in Germany," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(1), pages 125-148, 03.
  18. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
  19. FitzRoy, Felix R. & Kraft, Kornelius, 1995. "On the choice of incentives in firms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 145-160, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jensen, Uwe & Rässler, Susanne, 2007. "The effects of collective bargaining on firm performance : new evidence based on stochastic production frontiers and multiply imputed German establishment data," IAB-Forschungsbericht 200703, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  2. Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus, 2004. "Betriebliche Determinanten des Überstundeneinsatzes," Discussion Papers 24, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  3. Uwe Jirjahn & Steffen Mueller, 2011. "Nonunion Worker Representation, Foreign Owners and the Performance of Establishments," Research Papers in Economics 2011-03, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
  4. Kohaut, Susanne & Schnabel, Claus, 2003. "Verbreitung, Ausmaß und Determinanten der übertariflichen Entlohnung," Discussion Papers 23, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  5. Jirjahn, Uwe, 2003. "Betriebsräte, Tarifverträge und betriebliches Lohnniveau (Works councils, wage agreements and the company wage level)," Mitteilungen aus der Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 36(4), pages 649-660.
  6. John T. Addison & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2004. "The Course of Research into the Economic Consequences of German Works Councils," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 255-281, 06.
  7. repec:iab:iabmit:v:36:i:4:p:649-660 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Addison, John T., 2005. "The Determinants of Firm Performance: Unions, Works Councils, and Employee Involvement/High Performance Work Practices," IZA Discussion Papers 1620, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Uschi Backes-Gellner & Stephan Veen, 2008. "The Impact of Workforce Age Heterogeneity on Company Productivity," Working Papers 0078, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised Sep 2009.
  10. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schank, Thorsten & Teixeira, Paulino, 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?," IZA Discussion Papers 1780, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Jensen, Uwe & Rässler, Susanne, 2006. "Stochastic production frontiers with multiply imputed German establishment data," Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung - Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 39(2), pages 277-295.
  12. Zwick, Thomas, 2004. "Employee participation and productivity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 715-740, December.
  13. Joachim Wagner, 2005. "Exporte und Produktivität in mittelständischen Betrieben Befunde aus der niedersächsischen Industrie (1995 – 2004)," Working Paper Series in Economics 11, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.

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