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The Long Awaited Reform of the German Works Constitution Act

Author

Listed:
  • Addison, John T.

    () (University of South Carolina)

  • Bellmann, Lutz

    () (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)

  • Schnabel, Claus

    () (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Wagner, Joachim

    () (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

Abstract

German law guaranteeing works councils is not a datum. The thrust of legislation has changed significantly on a number of occasions since 1920. The most recent legal change in the form of the Works Constitution Reform Act marks a controversial swing in favor of works council formation and authority. The present paper evaluates the new legislation from an economic perspective. We link the crucial terms of the new legislation to extant empirical evidence on the incidence of works councils, the availability of alternative employee involvement mechanisms, and the impact of the institution on performance by establishment size. Given the limitations of the evidence, which are shown to have relaxed the constraints on legislative innovation, we also offer some new empirical findings based on a matched-plants approach, using a nationally representative sample of establishments. This empirical strategy in principle offers improved estimates of the effects of works councils on establishment performance. Although the results of this exercise differ somewhat from earlier analyses, they provide little support for the recent legislative changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "The Long Awaited Reform of the German Works Constitution Act," IZA Discussion Papers 422, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp422
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Addison, John T. & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2000. "Die mitbestimmungsfreie Zone aus ökonomischer Sicht," Discussion Papers 1, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    2. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Chapters,in: Works Councils: Consultation, Representation, and Cooperation in Industrial Relations, pages 27-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Addison, John T & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 1996. "German Works Councils, Profits, and Innovation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 555-582.
    4. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Thomas Zwick, 2006. "The Impact of Works Councils on Wages," GEMF Working Papers 2006-08, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
    5. Sue Fernie & David Metcalf, 1995. "Participation, Contingent Pay, Representation and Workplace Performance: Evidence from Great Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 33(3), pages 379-415, September.
    6. Olaf H¸bler & Uwe Jirjahn, 2003. "Works Councils and Collective Bargaining in Germany: The Impact on Productivity and Wages," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(4), pages 471-491, September.
    7. repec:mes:challe:v:38:y:1995:i:3:p:53-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Barbara Sianesi, 2001. "Propensity score matching," United Kingdom Stata Users' Group Meetings 2001 12, Stata Users Group, revised 23 Aug 2001.
    9. FitzRoy, Felix R & Kraft, Kornelius, 1985. "Unionization, Wages and Efficiency: Theories and Evidence from the U.S. and West Germany," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(4), pages 537-554.
    10. David Neumark & Peter Cappelli, 1999. "Do "High Performance" Work Practices Improve Establishment-Level Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 7374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ulman, Lloyd & Gerlach, Knut, 2003. "An essay on collective bargaining and unemployment in Germany," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt16v5m721, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    2. John T. Addison & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2006. "The (Parlous) State of German Unions," Working Paper Series in Economics 23, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    3. Gralla, Rafael & Kraft, Kornelius, 2012. "Separating Introduction Effects from Selectivity Effects: The Differences in Employment Patterns of Co-Determined Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 7022, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. 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).
    5. Ulman, Lloyd & Gerlach, Knut, 2002. "The Uneasy Triangle," Institute of European Studies, Working Paper Series qt2dd6z05p, Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley.
    6. Addison, John T. & Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "German Works Councils in the Production Process," IZA Discussion Papers 812, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. John T. Addison & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2004. "The Course of Research into the Economic Consequences of German Works Councils," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 255-281, June.
    8. Addison, John T. & Teixeira, Paulino & Zwick, Thomas, 2006. "Works Councils and the Anatomy of Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 2474, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Kölling, Arnd, 2002. "Unions, Works Councils and Plant Closings in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 474, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Kraft Kornelius & Lang Julia, 2008. "The Causes and Consequences of Adopting a Works Council," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 228(5-6), pages 512-532, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    works council legislation; codetermination; employee-involvement mechanisms; establishment performance; matched-plants approach;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J58 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Public Policy
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

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