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Can German Unions Still Cut It?

Author

Listed:
  • John Addison

    () (University of South Carolina, GEMF and IZA Bonn)

  • Paulino Teixeira

    () (University of Coimbra/GEMF and IZA Bonn)

  • Jens Stephani

    (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung, Bundesagentur für Arbeit)

  • Lutz Bellmann

    (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung, Bundesagentur für Arbeit, and IZA Bonn)

Abstract

Using linked employer-employee data, this paper estimates the effect of collective bargaining coverage on wages over an interval of continuing decline in unionism. Unobserved firm and worker heterogeneity is dealt with using two establishment sub-samples, comprising collective bargaining joiners and never members on the one hand and collective bargaining leavers and always members on the other, each in combination with subsets of worker job stayers. The counterfactuals are then reversed for robustness checks. Joining a sectoral agreement is found always to produce higher wages, while leaving one no longer produces wage losses if the transition is to a firm agreement. Leaving a firm agreement to non- coverage also leads to wage reductions, while joining one from non-coverage seems decreasingly favorable. The reverse counterfactuals yield correspondingly smaller estimates (in absolute value) of wage development than reported for the initial counterfactuals. Finally, although small, the union wage gap persists.

Suggested Citation

  • John Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Jens Stephani & Lutz Bellmann, 2012. "Can German Unions Still Cut It?," GEMF Working Papers 2012-19, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
  • Handle: RePEc:gmf:wpaper:2012-19
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Kohn, Karsten, 2006. "Gleicher Lohn für gleiche Arbeit? Zum Zusammenhang zwischen Gewerkschaftsmitgliedschaft und Lohnstruktur in Westdeutschland 1985?1997," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-006, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Antonczyk, Dirk & Fitzenberger, Bernd & Sommerfeld, Katrin, 2010. "Rising wage inequality, the decline of collective bargaining, and the gender wage gap," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 835-847, October.
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    4. John T. Addison & Alex Bryson & Paulino Teixeira & André Pahnke & Lutz Bellmann, 2011. "The Demise of a Model? The State of Collective Bargaining and Worker Representation in Germany," GEMF Working Papers 2011-09, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
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    6. Hirsch, Boris & Schnabel, Claus, 2011. "Let's take bargaining models seriously: The decline in union power in Germany, 1992 - 2009," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 10/2011, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    7. John Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Katalin Evers & Lutz Bellmann, 2012. "Is the Erosion Thesis Overblown? Evidence from the Orientation of Uncovered Employers," GEMF Working Papers 2012-07, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Germany; sectoral collective bargaining; firm-level agreements; wages; spell fixed-effects.;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • 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

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