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Labour Relations Quality and Productivity: An Empirical Analysis on French Firms

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  • Gilbert Cette
  • Nicolas Dromel
  • Rémy Lecat

Abstract

We empirically characterise how good labour relations can alleviate the negative impact on productivity of regulatory constraints or workforce opposition. The estimates are based on a unique survey of French manufacturing firms collected by the Banque de France over the period 1991-2008. Our main results may be summarised as follows: i) ‘workforce or union opposition’ interacted with ‘regulatory constraints’ has a negative significant impact on total factor productivity (TFP). When this interaction is not taken into account, a deteriorated labour climate, through workforce or union opposition, weighs directly on TFP. But when this interaction is taken into account, this negative impact relies solely on the combination of regulatory constraints and labour opposition: workers or unions can successfully oppose management’s decisions and weigh on TFP when they can use or threaten to use appropriate regulation; otherwise, their opposition may be harmless; ii) ‘regulatory constraints’ interacted with ‘branch or firm agreement’ has a positive significant impact on TFP. These agreements, which can only be obtained if labour relations are supportive, would be used by firms to offset the negative impact of regulatory constraints. This favourable impact can be obtained through two channels: first, informally, a good labour climate can lead to a flexible implementation of regulation; second, formally, the French labour code incorporates provisions that allow firm or branch agreements to adapt or even alleviate the constraints of regulation. These results emphasise that the implementation of regulatory constraints and their impact on productivity crucially hinges on the quality of labour climate.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilbert Cette & Nicolas Dromel & Rémy Lecat, 2013. "Labour Relations Quality and Productivity: An Empirical Analysis on French Firms," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 4(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:pia:review:v:4:y:2013:i:2:n:2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gilbert Cette & Nicolas Dromel & Rémy Lecat & Anne-Charlotte Paret, 2015. "Production Factor Returns: The Role of Factor Utilization," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 134-143, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barthélemy, J. & Marx, M., 2012. "Generalizing the Taylor Principle: New Comment," Working papers 403, Banque de France.
    2. Chouard, V. & Minier, A. & Tarrieu, S. & Baudry, L. & Soual, A., 2015. "La progression modérée de la durée d’utilisation des équipements se poursuit en 2014 - Résultats de l’enquête menée par la Banque de France," Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 199, pages 43-52.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labour relations; collective bargaining; trade unions; productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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