The Response of Wages and Actual Hours Worked to the Reductions of Standard Hours
AbstractA transformation of what had become a universal 40 hour standard work week in Germany began in 1985 with reductions negotiated in the metal-working and printing sectors. These reductions have continued through 1995, and were followed by reductions in other sectors. The union campaign aimed to increase employment through work-sharing, and is being emulated in the United States with the launch of a reduced hours campaign by the AFL-CIO. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, I find that increased overtime or reduced short time was little used to offset the reduction in standard hours: a one hour reduction in standard hours appears to have translated into a reduction in actual hours worked of between 0.85 and 1 hour for workers in manufacturing. One might expect this to have resulted in a loss of earnings for workers in affected industries. However, I substantiate the union claim of full wage compensation : reductions in standard hours were accompanied by a relative rise in the hourly straight-time wage of 2-3% for each hour fall in standard hours, enough to keep monthly earnings the same as in unaffected industries.
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Date of creation: Aug 1996
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
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