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The Course of Research into the Economic Consequences of German Works Councils

  • John T. Addison
  • Claus Schnabel
  • Joachim Wagner

In her recent survey, Carola Frege concludes that economic analysis of the works council has reached a 'dead end'. The present paper offers a very different assessment. The evolving economic literature is shown to follow three distinct phases, the last of which contains some of the most positive evaluations to date of works council impact on establishment performance. Although these estimates are exaggerated, and the effects of works councils are likely to be small on average, the new literature redirects our research focus towards factors producing swings around this average, including differences in works council types and their workplace environments. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd/London School of Economics 2004.

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Article provided by London School of Economics in its journal British Journal of Industrial Relations.

Volume (Year): 42 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 255-281

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Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:42:y:2004:i:2:p:255-281
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  1. Lisa M Lynch & Sandra E Black, 2002. "How to Compete: The Impact of Workplace Practices and Information Technology on Productivity," Working Papers 02-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2004. "Works councils - sand or grease in the operation of German firms?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 159-161.
  3. Addison, John T. & Belfield, Clive R., 2003. "Union Voice," IZA Discussion Papers 862, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1994. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Working Papers 4918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. John Addison & Stanley Siebert & Joachim Wagner & Xiangdong Wei, 2000. "Worker Participation and Firm Performance: Evidence from Germany and Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(1), pages 7-48, 03.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Thomas Zwick, 2006. "The Impact of Works Councils on Wages," GEMF Working Papers 2006-08, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  9. 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.
  10. Zwick, Thomas, 2003. "Works Councils and the Productivity Impact of Direct Employee Participation," ZEW Discussion Papers 03-47, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  11. John T. Addison & Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2005. "Works Councils in the Production Process," GEMF Working Papers 2005-12, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  12. Addison, John T. & Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "German works councils in the production process," Discussion Papers 21, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Alex Bryson, 2004. "Unions and Workplace Closure in Britain, 1990-1998," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 282-302, 06.
  17. Addison, John T & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 1996. "German Works Councils, Profits, and Innovation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 555-82.
  18. 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.
  19. 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).
  20. Carola M. Frege, 2002. "A Critical Assessment of the Theoretical and Empirical Research on German Works Councils," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 40(2), pages 221-248, 06.
  21. 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.
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