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The one constant: a causal effect of collective bargaining on employment growth? Evidence from German linked‐employer‐employee data

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  • Tobias Brändle
  • Laszlo Goerke

Abstract

A large number of articles have analysed ‘the one constant’ in the economic effects of trade unions, namely that collective bargaining reduces employment growth by 2–4% points per year. Evidence is, however, mostly related to Anglo‐Saxon countries. We investigate whether a different institutional setting might lead to a different outcome, making the constant a variable entity. Using linked‐employer‐employee data for Germany, we find a negative correlation between being covered by a sector‐wide bargaining agreement or firm‐level contract and employment growth of about 1% point per annum. However, the correlation between employment growth and collective bargaining is not robust to the use of panel methods. We conclude that the results of the literature using cross‐section data might be driven by selection.

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  • Tobias Brändle & Laszlo Goerke, 2018. "The one constant: a causal effect of collective bargaining on employment growth? Evidence from German linked‐employer‐employee data," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 65(5), pages 445-478, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:65:y:2018:i:5:p:445-478
    DOI: 10.1111/sjpe.12180
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    1. Bernardo Fanfani, 2019. "The Employment Effects of Collective Bargaining," Working papers 064, Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino.
    2. Andrea Garnero & François Rycx & Isabelle Terraz, 2020. "Productivity and Wage Effects of Firm‐Level Collective Agreements: Evidence from Belgian Linked Panel Data," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 58(4), pages 936-972, December.
    3. Brändle, Tobias & Kalweit, René, 2016. "The Employment Effects of the EU Eastern Enlargement in Germany," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145502, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Addison, John T. & Teixeira, Paulino & Grunau, Philipp & Bellmann, Lutz, 2019. "Dissonant Works Councils and Establishment Survivability," IZA Discussion Papers 12438, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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