IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

German Works Councils in the Production Process

  • Addison, John T.


    (University of South Carolina)

  • Schank, Thorsten


    (University of Mainz)

  • Schnabel, Claus


    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Wagner, Joachim


    (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

In a sharp break with past German research, some recent estimates have suggested that plants with work councils have 25 to 30 per cent higher productivity than their works-councilfree counterparts. Such findings can only serve to buttress the strong theoretical and policy interest in the German institution, not least in an environment of union decline. In the present paper, we estimate the effects of works councils on productivity, 1997-2000, using a nationally representative German data set. We recoup the works council effect by estimating translog production functions, stochastic frontier production functions, and a model in first differences. Once we focus on a core sample of establishments with 21 to 100 employees in which the powers of the works council are a datum, it emerges that the positive productivity differential is a chimera. By the same token, neither is the effect negative. This result is important in its own right given the sharply opposing findings of past empirical research and the partisan positions these have helped sustain.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 812.

in new window

Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Schmollers Jahrbuch: Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften/Journal of Applied Social Science Studies, 2006, 126 (2), 251-283
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp812
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "Works Councils – Sand or Grease in the Operation of German Firms?," IZA Discussion Papers 648, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1978. "Trade Unions in the Production Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 355-78, June.
  4. Addison, John T. & Bellmann, Lutz & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2002. "The reform of the German works constitution act: a critical assessment," Discussion Papers 16, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  5. Oliver E. Williamson & Michael L. Wachter & Jeffrey E. Harris, 1975. "Understanding the Employment Relation: The Analysis of Idiosyncratic Exchange," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(1), pages 250-278, Spring.
  6. John T. Addison & Lutz Bellmann & Arnd Kölling, 2004. "Works Councils and Plant Closings in Germany," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(1), pages 125-148, 03.
  7. Freeman, Richard B, 1976. "Individual Mobility and Union Voice in the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 361-68, May.
  8. Addison, John T & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2001. "Work Councils in Germany: Their Effects on Establishment Performance," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 659-94, October.
  9. 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, 06.
  10. Denny, Michael & Fuss, Melvyn A, 1977. "The Use of Approximation Analysis to Test for Separability and the Existence of Consistent Aggregates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 404-18, June.
  11. Christensen, Laurits R & Jorgenson, Dale W & Lau, Lawrence J, 1973. "Transcendental Logarithmic Production Frontiers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 55(1), pages 28-45, February.
  12. Addison, John T & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 1996. "German Works Councils, Profits, and Innovation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 555-82.
  13. 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).
  14. FitzRoy, Felix R. & Kraft, Kornelius, 1995. "On the choice of incentives in firms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 145-160, January.
  15. Fitzroy, Felix R & Kraft, Kornelius, 1987. "Efficiency and Internal Organization: Works Councils in West German Firms," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 54(216), pages 493-504, November.
  16. 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 537-54.
  17. Schmidt, Peter & Sickles, Robin C, 1984. "Production Frontiers and Panel Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 367-74, October.
  18. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
  19. Zwick, Thomas & Wolf, Elke, 2002. "Reassessing the Impact of High Performance Workplaces," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-07, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp812. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.