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Worker Directors: A German Product that Didn’t Export?

  • John T. Addison

    (Queen’s University Management School and IZA)

  • Claus Schnabel

    (Lehrstuhl für Arbeitsmarkt- und Regionalpolitik, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and IZA)

Despite its seeming lack of attractiveness to other countries, the German system of quasi-parity codetermination at company level has thus far held up fairly well. We recount the theoretical arguments for and against this form of codetermination, and survey the evolving empirical evidence as to its economic impact. Even if theory and the more recent empirical findings hold out the prospect that the apparatus of good corporate governance might include employee representation on company boards, caveats attach to the extent of representation and the composition of the worker side. But even if the entity has performed better than its external reputation might indicate, it is clearly in the process of adapting to change. In particular, the availability of alternative forms of corporate governance will increasingly shape the German institution.

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Paper provided by GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra in its series GEMF Working Papers with number 2009-02.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gmf:wpaper:2009-02
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  1. Kraft, Kornelius, 2001. "Codetermination as a strategic advantage?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 543-566, March.
  2. Kornelius Kraft & Marija Ugarkovic, 2006. "Gesetzliche Mitbestimmung und Kapitalrendite," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 226(5), pages 588-604, September.
  3. Gérard Charreaux & Philippe Desbrières, 2001. "Corporate Governance: Stakeholder Value Versus Shareholder Value," Working Papers CREGO 1010301, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations.
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  5. Furubotn, Eirik G, 1988. "Codetermination and the Modern Theory of the Firm: A Property-Rights Analysis," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(2), pages 165-81, April.
  6. Barry T. Hirsch, 2004. "What Do Unions Do for Economic Performance?," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 415-456, July.
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  8. FitzRoy, Felix R & Kraft, Kornelius, 1993. " Economic Effects of Codetermination," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(3), pages 365-75.
  9. Addison, John T. & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "The Course of Research into the Economic Consequences of German Works Councils," IZA Discussion Papers 878, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. FitzRoy, Felix & Kraft, Kornelius, 2004. "Co-Determination, Efficiency, and Productivity," IZA Discussion Papers 1442, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Kraft, Kornelius, 1998. "The codetermined firm in oligopoly," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 195-201, November.
  12. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1994. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Working Papers 4918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Fauver, Larry & Fuerst, Michael E., 2006. "Does good corporate governance include employee representation? Evidence from German corporate boards," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 673-710, December.
  14. Luis M. Granero, 2006. "Codetermination, R&D, and Employment," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(2), pages 309-328, June.
  15. Kornelius Kraft & Jörg Stank, 2004. "Die Auswirkungen der gesetzlichen Mitbestimmung auf die Innova-tionsaktivität deutscher Unternehmen," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 124(3), pages 421-449.
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