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

Listed author(s):
  • Addison, John T.

    ()

    (University of South Carolina)

  • Kölling, Arnd

    ()

    (Berlin School of Economics and Law)

  • Teixeira, Paulino

    ()

    (University of Coimbra)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8359.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2014
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8359
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  1. Jonas Pontusson, 2013. "Unionization, Inequality and Redistribution," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 51(4), pages 797-825, December.
  2. Antonczyk, Dirk & Fitzenberger, Bernd & Sommerfeld, Katrin, 2010. "Rising wage inequality, the decline of collective bargaining, and the gender wage gap," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 835-847, October.
  3. David Card & Jörg Heining & Patrick Kline, 2013. "Workplace Heterogeneity and the Rise of West German Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 967-1015.
  4. Bernd Fitzenberger & Karsten Kohn & Alexander C. Lembcke, 2013. "Union Density and Varieties of Coverage: The Anatomy of Union Wage Effects in Germany," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 66(1), pages 169-197, January.
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  7. Torres, Sónia & Portugal, Pedro & Addison, John T. & Guimaraes, Paulo, 2013. "The Sources of Wage Variation: A Three-Way High-Dimensional Fixed Effects Regression Model," IZA Discussion Papers 7276, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
  9. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Zweimuller, Josef, 1999. "Intra-Firm Wage Dispersion and Firm Performance," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 555-572.
  10. Christian Dustmann & Bernd Fitzenberger & Uta Sch?nberg & Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2014. "From Sick Man of Europe to Economic Superstar: Germany's Resurgent Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(1), pages 167-188, Winter.
  11. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Alex Bryson & André Pahnke, 2013. "Collective Agreement Status and Survivability: Change and Persistence in the German Model," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 27(3), pages 288-309, September.
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  14. Gartner, Hermann, 2005. "The imputation of wages above the contribution limit with the German IAB employment sample," FDZ Methodenreport 200502_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  15. John Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Katalin Evers & Lutz Bellmann, 2014. "Indicative and Updated Estimates of the Collective Bargaining Premium in Germany," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 125-156, January.
  16. Guertzgen, Nicole, 2012. "Estimating the wage premium of collective wage contracts: Evidence from longitudinal linked employer-employee data," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-073, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  17. Gerlach Knut & Stephan Gesine, 2006. "Bargaining Regimes and Wage Dispersion," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 226(6), pages 629-645, December.
  18. Kohn, Karsten & Lembcke, Alexander, 2007. "Wage distributions by bargaining regime: linked employer-employee data evidence from Germany," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19699, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  19. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-979, July.
  20. Gabriele Fischer & Florian Janik & Dana Müller & Alexandra Schmucker, 2009. "European Data Watch: The IAB Establishment Panel - Things Users Should Know," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 129(1), pages 133-148.
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  22. Addison, John T. & Bailey, Ralph & Siebert, W. Stanley, 2003. "The Impact of Deunionisation on Earnings Dispersion Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 724, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Tobias Brändle, 2013. "Flexible Collective Bargaining Agreements: Still a Moderating Effect on Works Council Behaviour?," IAW Discussion Papers 96, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
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