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We Want them all Covered! Collective Bargaining and Firm Heterogeneity. Theory and Evidence from Germany

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Abstract

This paper establishes a link between the extent of collective bargaining and the degree of productivity dispersion within an industry. In a unionised oligopoly model we show that for only small di erences in productivity levels. a sector-union can design a collective wage contract that covers a wide range of heterogeneous firms. In sectors with higher productivity dispersion, an industry union has an incentive to demand firm-level wage contracts with the most productive firms, so that they can prevent low-productivity firms from leaving collective coverage. However, such firm-level contracts may not prevent firms at the lower end of the productivity distribution from avoiding collective coverage in sectors with high productivity dispersion. We test the predictions of the model using German linked employer-employee data between 1996 and 2010 and find support for our theoretical results.

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Baumann & Tobias Brändle, 2015. "We Want them all Covered! Collective Bargaining and Firm Heterogeneity. Theory and Evidence from Germany," IAW Discussion Papers 114, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  • Handle: RePEc:iaw:iawdip:114
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Collective bargaining; trade unions; heterogeneous rms; unionised oligopoly; linked employer-employee data;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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