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The Course of Research into the Economic Consequences of German Works Councils

Author

Listed:
  • Addison, John T.

    () (University of South Carolina)

  • Schnabel, Claus

    () (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Wagner, Joachim

    () (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

Abstract

In a survey published in the British Journal of Industrial Relations, Frege (2002) evaluates research on the German works council from the perspective of several disciplines, including economics. Ultimately, she concludes that economic analysis of the works council has reached a ‘dead end’. The present treatment offers a very different conclusion based on a more encompassing review of the evidence. It will identify three distinct phases in the economic analysis of codetermination at the workplace. This framework is key to understanding the progress that has been made in analysing the effect of works councils on firm performance, while highlighting some important measurement issues and diversity of finding. Given the recent vintage of much of the German research, it is inevitable that Frege considers studies from just the first two phases. Rather interestingly, it is the neglected third phase of research that contains some of the most favourable evaluations to date of works council impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Addison, John T. & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "The Course of Research into the Economic Consequences of German Works Councils," IZA Discussion Papers 878, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp878
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2001. "How To Compete: The Impact Of Workplace Practices And Information Technology On Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 434-445, August.
    3. Addison, John T. & Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "German works councils in the production process," Discussion Papers 21, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    4. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1978. "Trade Unions in the Production Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 355-378, June.
    5. 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 659-694, October.
    6. John T. Addison & Clive R. Belfield, 2004. "Union Voice," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(4), pages 563-596, October.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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, March.
    10. Addison, John T & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 1996. "German Works Councils, Profits, and Innovation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 555-582.
    11. 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.
    12. John T. Addison & Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2006. "Works Councils in the Production Process," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 126(2), pages 251-283.
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    16. 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.
    17. Carola M. Frege, 2002. "A Critical Assessment of the Theoretical and Empirical Research on German Works Councils," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 40(2), pages 221-248, June.
    18. Alex Bryson, 2004. "Unions and Workplace Closure in Britain, 1990-1998," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(2), pages 282-302, June.
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    20. 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).
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    Keywords

    investment; productivity; quits; codetermination; works councils; profitability; employee involvement/high performance workplace practices;

    JEL classification:

    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General

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