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Voluntary Quits: Do Works Councils Matter? An Analysis of the Reform of the German Works Constitution Act 2001

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  • Julian B. Adam

Abstract

Most of the literature on the effects of German works councils doesnot deal with the issue of potential endogeneity of works council existence. Exploiting exogenous variation in works council authority stemming from a 2001 reform of the German Works Constitution Act, I apply a regression difference-in-difference using establishment panel data. I find that increasing works council size and the introduction of one full-time councilor causally reduces the number of voluntary quits by about 30 percent. This decline is driven entirely by collective voice effects and there is no evidence for monopoly effects in place. Similar to the findings of previous research, the effect is significant only in establishments which are subject to a collective agreement. The results suggest that the effectiveness of works councils either heavily relies on the support of unions, or that works councils mainly serve as a guardian of collective agreements.

Suggested Citation

  • Julian B. Adam, 2018. "Voluntary Quits: Do Works Councils Matter? An Analysis of the Reform of the German Works Constitution Act 2001," Working Papers 179, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  • Handle: RePEc:bav:wpaper:179_adam
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dieter Sadowski & Uschi Backes-Gellner & Bernd Frick, 1995. "Works Councils: Barriers or Boosts for the Competitiveness of German Firms?," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 33(3), pages 493-513, September.
    2. Lechner, Michael, 2011. "The Estimation of Causal Effects by Difference-in-Difference Methods," Foundations and Trends(R) in Econometrics, now publishers, vol. 4(3), pages 165-224, November.
    3. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "The reform of the German works constitution act: a critical assessment," Discussion Papers 16, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    4. Christian Pfeifer, 2011. "The Heterogeneous Economic Consequences of Works Council Relations," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 131(1), pages 59-71.
    5. Bernhard Boockmann & Susanne Steffes, 2010. "Workers, Firms, or Institutions: What Determines Job Duration for Male Employees in Germany?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(1), pages 109-127, October.
    6. 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 537-554.
    7. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, December.
    8. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "German Works Councils Old and New: Incidence, Coverage and Determinants," IZA Discussion Papers 495, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Christian Grund & Andreas Schmitt, 2013. "Works councils, wages and job satisfaction," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(3), pages 299-310, January.
    10. Jens Mohrenweiser & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Die Wirkung des Betriebsverfassungsgesetzes am Beispiel der Freistellung von Betriebsräten – ein Beitrag zur Rechtstatsachenforschung," Working Papers 0104, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
    11. 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.
    12. Gabriele Fischer & Florian Janik & Dana Müller & Alexandra Schmucker, 2009. "European Data Watch: The IAB Establishment Panel - Things Users Should Know," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 129(1), pages 133-148.
    13. Freeman, Richard B, 1976. "Individual Mobility and Union Voice in the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 361-368, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Müller, Steffen & Neuschäffer, Georg, 2020. "Worker participation in decision-making, worker sorting, and firm performance," IWH Discussion Papers 11/2020, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    works councils; codetermination; industrial relations; quits; collective bargaining;

    JEL classification:

    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • 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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