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Do Works Councils Inhibit Investment?

Author

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  • Wagner, Joachim
  • Schnabel, Claus
  • Schank, Thorsten
  • Addison, John T.

Abstract

Theory suggests that firms confront a hold-up problem in dealing with workplace unionism: unions will appropriate a portion of the quasi rents stemming from long-lived capital. As a result, firms may be expected to limit their exposure to rent seeking by reducing investments, among other things. Although there is some empirical support for this prediction in firm-level studies for the United States, we investigate whether this is also the case in the different institutional context of Germany where the works council is the analogue of workplace unionism. Using parametric and nonparametric methods and establishment panel data, we find no evidence that the formation (dissolution) of a works council has an unfavorable (favorable) impact on investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Wagner, Joachim & Schnabel, Claus & Schank, Thorsten & Addison, John T., 2005. "Do Works Councils Inhibit Investment?," Discussion Papers 32, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:faulre:32
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Filippo Belloc, 2015. "Employee Representation Legislations and Innovation," Department of Economics University of Siena 719, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. Uwe Jirjahn & Jens Mohrenweiser & Uschi Backes‐Gellner, 2011. "Works Councils and Learning: On the Dynamic Dimension of Codetermination," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 427-447, August.
    3. Hirsch, Boris, 2007. "Joan Robinson Meets Harold Hotelling : A Dyopsonistic Explanation of the Gender Pay Gap," Discussion Papers 51, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
    4. Godard, John & Frege, Carola M., 2014. "Worker perceptions of representation and rights in Germany and the USA," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 56527, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Uschi Backes-Gellner & Simone N. Tuor, 2010. "Avoiding Labor Shortages by Employer Signaling: On the Importance of Good Work Climate and Labor Relations," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(2), pages 271-286, January.
    6. repec:iab:iabzaf:v:38:i:2/3:p:268-283 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Uwe Jirjahn, 2011. "Gender, Worker Representation and the Profitability of Firms in Germany," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 8(2), pages 281-298, December.
    8. Adam Seth Litwin, 2013. "Not Featherbedding, but Feathering the Nest: Human Resource Management and Investments in Information Technology," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 22-52, January.
    9. Giovanni Sulis, 2015. "Unions and investment in intangible capital," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 201-201, October.
    10. Cardullo, Gabriele & Conti, Maurizio & Sulis, Giovanni, 2015. "Sunk capital, unions and the hold-up problem: Theory and evidence from cross-country sectoral data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 253-274.
    11. Joachim Wagner, 2011. "One-third Codetermination at Company Supervisory Boards and Firm Performance in German Manufacturing Industries: First Direct Evidence from a New Type of Enterprise Data," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 131(1), pages 91-106.
    12. Schultz, Birgit, 2006. "Möglichkeiten und Grenzen des Matching-Ansatzes – am Beispiel der betrieblichen Mitbestimmung," IWH Discussion Papers 15/2006, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    13. John T. Addison & Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2007. "Do Works Councils Inhibit Investment?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(2), pages 187-203, January.
    14. David Card & Francesco Devicienti & Agata Maida, 2014. "Rent-sharing, Holdup, and Wages: Evidence from Matched Panel Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 84-111.
    15. Müller, Steffen & Stegmaier, Jens, 2017. "Why is there resistance to works councils in Germany? An economic perspective," IWH Discussion Papers 23/2017, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    16. Burdín, Gabriel & Pérotin, Virginie, 2016. "Employee Representation and Flexible Working Time," IZA Discussion Papers 10437, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Schultz Birgit, 2006. "Mikroökonometrische Evaluation der ökonomischen Wirkungen betrieblicher Mitbestimmung - Möglichkeiten und Grenzen des Matching-Ansatzes / Microeconometric Evaluation of Economic Effects of Workers Par," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 226(5), pages 519-536, October.
    18. Alessandro Bramucci & Antonello Zanfei, 2015. "The governance of offshoring and its effects at home. The role of codetermination in the international organization of German firms," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(2), pages 217-244, June.
    19. repec:bla:indres:v:56:y:2017:i:1:p:73-121 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Olaf Hübler, 2015. "Do works councils raise or lower firm productivity?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 137-137, March.
    21. Bellmann, Lutz & Gerner, Hans-Dieter & Hübler, Olaf, 2013. "Investment under Company-Level Pacts," IZA Discussion Papers 7195, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    22. Nicole Torka & Jan Kees Looise & Stefan Zagelmeyer, 2011. "Ordinary Atypical Workers, Participation within the Firm and Innovation: A Theoretical Endeavor and Empirical Outlook," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 22(3), pages 221-239.
    23. Ben Kriechel & Samuel Muehlemann & Harald Pfeifer & Miriam Schuette, 2011. "Works councils, collective bargaining and apprenticeship training," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0057, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    24. Schnabel, Claus, 2006. "Verbetrieblichung der Lohnfindung und der Festlegung von Arbeitsbedingungen," Arbeitspapiere 118, Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Düsseldorf.
    25. Franz, Wolfgang, 2005. "Die deutsche Mitbestimmung auf dem Prüfstand : Bilanz und Vorschläge für eine Neuausrichtung (The German model of codetermination under test * conclusions and suggestions for reorientation)," Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung - Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 38(2/3), pages 268-283.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Investment; works councils; rent seeking; Germany; panel data;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General

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