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Severance Pay and the Shadow of the Law: Evidence for West Germany

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  • Laszlo Goerke
  • Markus Pannenberg

Abstract

Due to the complexity of employment protection legislation (EPL) in Germany, there is notable uncertainty about the outcomes of dismissal conflicts. In this study we focus on severance pay and inquire whether its incidence and level varies in a systematic manner with the legal rules as defined by labour as well as tax law. We start with a theoretical model that generates the main observable outcomes of dismissal conflicts as potential equilibrium situations. Using German panel data (GSOEP), we put our theoretical model to an empirical test. Our main result is that the shadow of the law matters. Criteria regarding the validity of dismissals either found in respective legislation or defined by labour courts significantly affect the incidence and magnitude of severance pay. Moreover, restrictive changes in the taxation of severance pay have a negative causal impact on its incidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Laszlo Goerke & Markus Pannenberg, 2005. "Severance Pay and the Shadow of the Law: Evidence for West Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 541, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp541
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Riphahn, Regina T., 2004. "Employment protection and effort among German employees," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 353-357, December.
    2. Thomas K. Bauer & Stefan Bender & Holger Bonin, 2007. "Dismissal Protection and Worker Flows in Small Establishments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(296), pages 804-821, November.
    3. repec:spr:portec:v:1:y:2002:i:2:d:10.1007_s10258-002-0010-3 is not listed on IDEAS
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    6. E. Galdon-Sanchez, Jose & Guell, Maia, 2003. "Dismissal conflicts and unemployment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 323-335, April.
    7. Verick, Sher, 2004. "Threshold Effects of Dismissal Protection Legislation in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 991, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Frick, Bernd & Schneider, Martin, 1999. "Zunehmende Konfliktregulierung durch Arbeitsgerichte? Eine ökonomische Analyse der Häufigkeit von Kündigungsschutzprozessen," Quint-Essenzen 56, University of Trier, Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Community (IAAEG).
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    11. Christian Grund, 2006. "Severance payments for dismissed employees in Germany," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 49-71, July.
    12. Levine, David I, 1989. "Just-Cause Employment Policies When Unemployment Is a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 902-905, September.
    13. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2007. "Inverse probability weighted estimation for general missing data problems," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 1281-1301, December.
    14. 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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Miguel Á. Malo, 2000. "A Simple Model of Severance Pay Determination: The Case of Individual Dismissals in Spain," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 14(2), pages 269-290, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Moser, Christoph & Urban, Dieter & di Mauro, Beatrice Weder, 2010. "International competitiveness, job creation and job destruction--An establishment-level study of German job flows," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 302-317, March.
    2. Pilar García-Martínez & Miguel Malo, 2007. "The strategic use of dismissal legislation: an empirical analysis using Spanish data," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 151-167, April.
    3. repec:dau:papers:123456789/179 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Berger, Helge & Neugart, Michael, 2011. "Labor courts, nomination bias, and unemployment in Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 659-673.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Severance pay; Labour law; Taxation; Sample selection; Survey data;

    JEL classification:

    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C24 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models; Threshold Regression Models

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