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

  • Addison, John T.

    ()

    (University of South Carolina)

  • Schnabel, Claus

    ()

    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Wagner, Joachim

    ()

    (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 878.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: British Journal of Industrial Relations, 2004, 42 (2), 255-281
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp878
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  1. Addison, John T. & Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "German Works Councils in the Production Process," IZA Discussion Papers 812, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Hübler, Olaf & Jirjahn, Uwe, 2001. "Works Councils and Collective Bargaining in Germany: The Impact on Productivity and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 322, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. 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.
  6. S. Black & L. Lynch, 1997. "How to compete: the impact of workplace practices and information technology on productivity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20298, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. 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.
  8. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1994. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Working Papers 4918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. 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).
  11. 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, 06.
  12. 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).
  13. 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.
  14. Addison, John T. & Belfield, Clive R., 2003. "Union Voice," IZA Discussion Papers 862, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. 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, 06.
  16. Addison, John T & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 1996. "German Works Councils, Profits, and Innovation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 555-82.
  17. John T. Addison & Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2005. "Works Councils in the Production Process," GEMF Working Papers 2005-12, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  18. Zwick, Thomas, 2003. "Works Councils and the Productivity Impact of Direct Employee Participation," ZEW Discussion Papers 03-47, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  19. 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.
  20. John Addison & Stanley Siebert & Joachim Wagner & Xiangdong Wei, 2000. "Worker Participation and Firm Performance: Evidence from Germany and Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 38(1), pages 7-48, 03.
  21. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira & Thomas Zwick, 2006. "The Impact of Works Councils on Wages," GEMF Working Papers 2006-08, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
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