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Dissonant Works Councils and Establishment Survivability

Author

Listed:
  • John T. Addison
  • Paulino Teixeira
  • Philipp Grunau
  • Lutz Bellmann

Abstract

Using subjective information provided by manager respondents on the stance taken by the works council in company decision making, this paper investigates the association between a measure of works council dissonance or disaffection and plant closings in Germany, 2006-2015. The potential effects of worker representation on plant survivability have been little examined in the firm performance literature because of inadequate information on plant closings on the one hand and having to assume homogeneity of what are undoubtedly heterogeneous worker representation agencies on the other. Our use of two datasets serves to identify failed establishments, while the critical issue of heterogeneity is tackled via manager perceptions of works council disaffection or otherwise. The heterogeneity issue is also addressed by considering the wider collective bargaining framework within which works councils are embedded, and also by allowing for works council learning. It is reported that works council dissonance is positively associated with plant closings, although this association is not found for establishments that are covered by sectoral agreements. Taken in conjunction, both findings are consistent with the literature on the mitigation of rent seeking behavior. Less consistent with the recent empirical literature, however, is the association between plant closings and dissonance over time, that is, from the point at which works council dissonance is first observed. Although the coefficient estimate for dissonance is declining with the length of the observation window, it remains stubbornly positive and highly statistically significant. Finally, there is evidence that establishments with dissonant works councils are associated with a much higher probability of transitioning from no collective bargaining to sectoral bargaining coverage over the sample period than their counterparts with more consensual works councils.

Suggested Citation

  • John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Philipp Grunau & Lutz Bellmann, 2019. "Dissonant Works Councils and Establishment Survivability," CESifo Working Paper Series 7722, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7722
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Uwe JIRJAHN & Stephen C. SMITH, 2018. "Nonunion Employee Representation: Theory And The German Experience With Mandated Works Councils," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 89(1), pages 201-233, March.
    2. Brown, Sarah & Gray, Daniel & McHardy, Jolian & Taylor, Karl, 2015. "Employee trust and workplace performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 361-378.
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    4. 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.
    5. Stephen Machin, 1995. "Plant Closures and Unionization in British Establishments," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 33(1), pages 55-68, March.
    6. Uwe Jirjahn & Jens Mohrenweiser, 2016. "Owner-Managers and the Failure of Newly Adopted Works Councils," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 54(4), pages 815-845, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    dissonance; works councils; plant closings; collective bargaining regime; rent seeking; learning;

    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
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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