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Union Bargaining and Intra-Industry Productivity Differentials: Theory and Evidence from Germany

  • Brändle, Tobias
  • Baumann, Florian

This paper indicates that the extent of collective bargaining coverage in an industry may depend on the differences in firms productivity levels within the industry. Less pronounced differences in productivity levels make it easier to design collective wage contracts that are accepted by a wider range of firms within an industry. Higher dispersion in productivity levels gives rise to the use of firm-level wage agreements reached by unions, while coverage by industry-wide contracts is likely to decrease. We measure correlations between productivity variation and collective bargaining coverage in various industries using German linked-employer-employee data from 2000-2008 and find that the share of industry-wide collective bargaining agreements may indeed be negatively correlated with the dispersion of plant productivity within an industry, while the opposite might hold true for firm-level contracts.

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order with number 79852.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79852
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  1. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
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  9. Addison, John T. & Bryson, Alex & Teixeira, Paulino & Pahnke, André, 2010. "Slip Sliding Away: Further Union Decline in Germany and Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 4760, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  12. Bernd Fitzenberger & Karsten Kohn & Alexander C. Lembcke, 2013. "Union Density and Varieties of Coverage: The Anatomy of Union Wage Effects in Germany," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 66(1), pages 169-197, January.
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  17. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  18. Addison, John T. & Teixeira, Paulino & Bryson, Alex & Pahnke, André, 2011. "The Structure of Collective Bargaining and Worker Representation: Change and Persistence in the German Model," IZA Discussion Papers 5987, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Barry T. Hirsch, 2004. "What Do Unions Do for Economic Performance?," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 415-456, July.
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