Labor in the Boardroom

We estimate the wage effects of shared governance, or codetermination, in the form of a mandate of one-third of corporate board seats going to worker representatives. We study a reform in Germany that abruptly abolished this mandate for stock corporations incorporated after August 1994, while it locked the mandate for the slightly older cohorts. Our research design compares firm cohorts incorporated before the reform and after; in a robustness check we draw on the analogous difference in unaffected firm types (LLCs). We find no effects of board-level codetermination on wages and the wage structure, even in firms with particularly flexible wages. The degree of rent sharing and the labor share are also unaffected. We reject that disinvestment could have offset wage effects through the canonical hold-up channel, as shared governance, if anything, increases capital formation.

01. May 2021

Authors Jörg Heining Simon Jäger Benjamin Schoefer

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Professor Benjamin Schoefer, PhD
Professor Benjamin Schoefer, PhD

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