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The Uneasy Triangle

  • Ulman, Lloyd
  • Gerlach, Knut
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    "...It is impossible for any community to have very full employment and completely free collective bargaining and stable prices. Either one of the three will be completely sacrificed, or else all three will have to be modified." "...In the last resort the answer will be given not by economists or by administrators but by the public opinion. At each corner of the triangle, the limiting factor is what public opinion will stand, and the degree of comprehension that public opinion will show for an economic policy that tries to preserve balance between competing objectives." (The Economist, August-October, 1952: 376, 435) Can Germany in the 1990s provide a contemporary example of the “uneasy triangle†posited by The Economist in the early 1950s? As the millennium approached, Germany’s inflation rate was very low; its unemployment rate unacceptably high; and its system of collective bargaining arguably the strongest to be found in any major industrial country. Public opinion appears to have played a more limiting role in the first of these corners of Germany’s triangles than in the other two.

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    Paper provided by Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley in its series Institute of European Studies, Working Paper Series with number qt2dd6z05p.

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    Date of creation: 01 Nov 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:bineur:qt2dd6z05p
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    1. van Ark, Bart, 1998. "Productivity," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 171-174, June.
    2. Hübler, Olaf & Jirjahn, Uwe, 2001. "Works Councils and Collective Bargaining in Germany: The Impact on Productivity and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 322, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1996. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages and Unemployment in OECD Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 302-08, May.
    4. Horst Siebert, 2000. "Ein Ansatz für mehr Dynamik und mehr Beschäftigung: Zum Jahresgutachten 1999/2000 des Sachverständigenrates," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(2), pages 221-227, 05.
    5. Richard Layard & Stephen Nickell, 1998. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0407, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    6. Horst Siebert, 1997. "Labor Market Rigidities: At the Root of Unemployment in Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 37-54, Summer.
    7. Robert Solow, 2000. "Unemployment in the United States and in Europe - A Contrast and the Reasons," CESifo Working Paper Series 231, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Büttner, Thiess & Fitzenberger, Bernd, 1998. "Central wage bargaining and local wage flexibility: evidence from the entire wage distribution," ZEW Discussion Papers 98-39, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    9. 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).
    10. Norbert Berthold, 2000. "Abbau von Inflexibilitäten auf dem Arbeitsmarkt - Ist die Wirtschaftspolitik auf dem richtigen Weg?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(2), pages 229-250, 05.
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