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Worker directors: a German product that didn't export?

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  • Addison, John T.
  • Schnabel, Claus

Abstract

Despite its lack of attractiveness to other countries, the German system of quasi-parity codetermination at company level has held up remarkably well. We recount the theoretical arguments for and against codetermination and survey the empirical evidence on the effects of the institution, tracing the three phases of a still sparse literature. Recent findings hold out the prospect that good corporate governance might include employee representation by virtue of the monitoring function and the reduction in agency costs, while yet cautioning that the optimal level of representation is likely below parity. And although the German system may be better than its reputation among foreigners, it might have to adapt to globalization and the availability of alternative forms of corporate governance in the EU. -- Trotz seiner geringen Attraktivität für andere Länder hat sich das deutsche System der quasi-paritätischen Unternehmensmitbestimmung als bemerkenswert stabil erwiesen. Wir erörtern die theoretischen Argumente für und gegen Mitbestimmung und bieten einen Überblick über die empirische Evidenz zu den Auswirkungen dieser Institution, wobei wir drei Phasen einer eher spärlichen Literatur nachzeichnen. Jüngere Erkenntnisse deuten darauf hin, dass zu einer guten Corporate Governance auch die Beteiligung der Arbeitnehmer (aufgrund ihrer Überwachungsfunktion und der Verringerung von Agency-Kosten) gehören könnte, wobei jedoch das optimale Ausmaß der Mitbestimmung unter 50 Prozent liegen dürfte. Auch wenn das deutsche System besser sein mag als sein Ruf im Ausland, muss es sich wohl an die Globalisierung und die Verfügbarkeit alternativer Unternehmensformen in der EU anpassen.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 61.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:faulre:61

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Web page: http://www.arbeitsmarkt.wiso.uni-erlangen.de/english-version/
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Keywords: codetermination; worker directors; board-level employee representation; firm performance; Germany;

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References

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  1. Gérard Charreaux & Philippe Desbrières, 2001. "Corporate Governance: Stakeholder Value Versus Shareholder Value," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 107-128, June.
  2. Felix FitzRoy & Kornelius Kraft, 2005. "Co-determination, Efficiency and Productivity," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(2), pages 233-247, 06.
  3. 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.
  4. Luis M. Granero, 2006. "Codetermination, R&D, and Employment," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(2), pages 309-328, June.
  5. Barry T. Hirsch, 2004. "What Do Unions Do for Economic Performance?," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 415-456, July.
  6. FitzRoy, Felix R & Kraft, Kornelius, 1993. " Economic Effects of Codetermination," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(3), pages 365-75.
  7. Kornelius Kraft & Marija Ugarkovic, 2006. "Gesetzliche Mitbestimmung und Kapitalrendite," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 226(5), pages 588-604, September.
  8. Hausman, Jerry A & Taylor, William E, 1981. "Panel Data and Unobservable Individual Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1377-98, November.
  9. Furubotn, Eirik G, 1988. "Codetermination and the Modern Theory of the Firm: A Property-Rights Analysis," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(2), pages 165-81, April.
  10. 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.
  11. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1994. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Working Papers 4918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Kraft, Kornelius, 1998. "The codetermined firm in oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 195-201, November.
  13. Kraft, Kornelius, 2001. "Codetermination as a strategic advantage?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 543-566, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Franziska Boneberg, 2010. "The Economic Consequences of one-third Codetermination in German Supervisory Boards: First Evidence for the Service Sector from a New Source of Enterprise Data," Working Paper Series in Economics 177, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  2. Joachim Wagner, 2009. "One-third codetermination at company supervisory boards and firm performance in German manufacturing Industries: First direct evidence from a new type of enterprise data," Working Paper Series in Economics 136, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  3. Hirsch, Boris & Mueller, Steffen, 2010. "Temporary agency work and the user firm's productivity: First evidence from German Panel Data," Discussion Papers 68, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  4. Franziska Boneberg, 2011. "The Economic Consequences of One-third Co-determination in German Supervisory Boards, First Evidence for the Service Sector from a New Source of Enterprise Data," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 231(3), pages 440-457, June.

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