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Paying More than Necessary? The Wage Cushion in Germany

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  • Jung, Sven

    ()

  • Schnabel, Claus

    () (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

Abstract

Using a representative establishment data set for Germany, we show that more than 40 percent of plants covered by collective agreements pay wages above the level stipulated in the agreement, which gives rise to a wage cushion between the levels of actual and contractual wages. Cross-sectional and fixed-effects estimations for the period 2001-2006 indicate that the wage cushion mainly varies with the profit situation of the plant and with indicators of labour shortage and the business cycle. While plants bound by multi-employer sectoral agreements seem to pay wage premiums in order to overcome the restrictions imposed by the rather centralized system of collective bargaining in Germany, plants which make use of single-employer agreements are significantly less likely to have wage cushions.

Suggested Citation

  • Jung, Sven & Schnabel, Claus, 2009. "Paying More than Necessary? The Wage Cushion in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 4278, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4278
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Boris Hirsch & Claus Schnabel, 2014. "What can we Learn from Bargaining Models about Union Power? The Decline in Union Power in Germany, 1992–2009," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82(3), pages 347-362, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Brenzel, Hanna & Gartner, Hermann & Schnabel, Claus, 2014. "Wage bargaining or wage posting? Evidence from the employers' side," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 41-48.
    4. Uwe Jirjahn, 2013. "Der Beitrag der Arbeitsmarktökonomik zur Erforschung von Gewerkschaften und Tarifvertragsbeziehungen in Deutschland," Research Papers in Economics 2013-03, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
    5. Hirsch, Boris & Mueller, Steffen, 2010. "Firm leadership and the gender pay gap: Do active owners discriminate more than hired managers?," Discussion Papers 72, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    6. Mosthaf, Alexander & Schnabel, Claus & Stephani, Jens, 2009. "Low-wage careers: are there dead-end firms and dead-end jobs?," Discussion Papers 66, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    7. Alm Bastian & Engel Dirk & Weyh Antje, 2014. "Does Switching to a Western German Employer Still Pay Off?: An Analysis for Eastern Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 234(5), pages 546-571, October.
    8. Hermann Gartner & Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel, 2013. "Wage Cyclicality Under Different Regimes of Industrial Relations," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 516-540, April.
    9. John T. Addison & Alex Bryson & Paulino Teixeira & André Pahnke & Lutz Bellmann, 2013. "The Extent of Collective Bargaining and Workplace Representation: Transitions between States and their Determinants. A Comparative Analysis of Germany and Great Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 60(2), pages 182-209, May.
    10. Oberfichtner, Michael, 2013. "Works council introductions: Do they reflect workers' voice?," Discussion Papers 83, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    11. Maritza López Novella & Salimata Sissoko, 2013. "Understanding wage determination in a multi-level bargaining system: a panel data analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 879-897, April.
    12. Schnabel Claus, 2016. "United, Yet Apart? A Note on Persistent Labour Market Differences between Western and Eastern Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 236(2), pages 157-179, March.
    13. Rob Euwals & Anja Deelen, 2014. "Do Wages Continue Increasing at Older Ages? Evidence on the Wage Cushion in the Netherlands," CPB Discussion Paper 282, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    14. 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.
    15. Anja Deelen & Rob Euwals, 2014. "Do Wages Continue Increasing at Older Ages? Evidence on the Wage Cushion in the Netherlands," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(4), pages 433-460, December.
    16. Hirsch, Boris & Müller, Steffen, 2018. "Firm Wage Premia, Industrial Relations, and Rent Sharing in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 11309, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Michael Oberfichtner, 2013. "Works council introductions: Do they reflect workers‘ voice?," Working Papers 137, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    18. Maritza López-Novella & Salimata Sissoko, 2009. "Working Paper 12-09 - Salaires et négociation collective en Belgique : une analyse microéconomique en panel," Working Papers 0912, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium.
    19. Hirsch, Boris & Mueller, Steffen, 2010. "Temporary agency work and the user firm's productivity: First evidence from German Panel Data," Discussion Papers 68, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    20. Uwe Jirjahn, 2015. "Research on Trade Unions and Collective Bargaining in Germany: The Contribution of Labor Economics," Research Papers in Economics 2015-10, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
    21. Deelen, Anja & Euwals, Rob, 2014. "Do Wages Continue Increasing at Older Ages? Evidence on the Wage Cushion in the Netherlands," IZA Discussion Papers 8467, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wages; wage cushion; wage determination; bargaining; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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