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Changes in Bargaining Status and Intra-Plant Wage Dispersion in Germany: A Case of (Almost) Plus Ça Change?

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  • Addison, John T.

    () (University of South Carolina)

  • Kölling, Arnd

    () (Berlin School of Economics and Law)

  • Teixeira, Paulino

    () (University of Coimbra)

Abstract

Recent studies have pointed to the association between declining collective bargaining coverage and rising overall wage inequality. This association holds more or less across-the-board, at least for broad swathes of recent history. That said, the exact contribution of deununionization is a matter of debate, perhaps no more so than in Germany, our case study. The present paper takes a less conventional approach to this particular source of rising inequality by examining intra-plant wage dispersion in the wake of establishments either exiting from or entering into collective agreements. Several measures of inequality are constructed for German establishments over the twelve-year period 1996-2008, an interval of continuously declining union representation. Using linked employer-employee data, our estimation strategy hinges upon the identification of comparable groups of establishments and on both instantaneous and medium- to long-term changes in the wage structure. A modest widening effect on dispersion of exiting from a sectoral agreement is detected in the data once we effect a comparison across observationally-equivalent individuals. The converse does not apply in respect of joiners. The scale of the former effect casts doubt on some of the more exaggerated claims of the importance of deunionization to wage inequality and the resurgence of Germany more generally.

Suggested Citation

  • Addison, John T. & Kölling, Arnd & Teixeira, Paulino, 2014. "Changes in Bargaining Status and Intra-Plant Wage Dispersion in Germany: A Case of (Almost) Plus Ça Change?," IZA Discussion Papers 8359, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8359
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andréasson, Hannes, 2014. "The effect of decentralized wage bargaining on the structure of wages and firm performance," Ratio Working Papers 241, The Ratio Institute.
    2. Fitzenberger Bernd & Sommerfeld Katrin, 2016. "A Sequential Decomposition of the Drop in Collective Bargaining Coverage," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 236(1), pages 37-69, February.
    3. Hinz, Tina, 2016. "Personnel policy adjustments when apprentice positions are unfilled: Evidence from German establishment data," Discussion Papers 99, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Germany; collective bargaining; deunionization; intra-plant wage inequality; sectoral agreement exits and accessions;

    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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