The German Model of Industrial Relations: Balancing Flexibility and Collective Action
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
We give an overview of the "German model" of industrial relations. We organize our review by focusing on the two pillars of the model: sectoral collective bargaining and firm-level codetermination. Relative to the United States, Germany outsources collective bargaining to the sectoral level, resulting in higher coverage and the avoidance of firm-level distributional conflict. Relative to other European countries, Germany makes it easy for employers to avoid coverage or use flexibility provisions to deviate downwards from collective agreements. The greater flexibility of the German system may reduce unemployment, but may also erode bargaining coverage and increase inequality. Meanwhile, firm-level codetermination through worker board representation and works councils creates cooperative dialogue between employers and workers. Board representation has few direct impacts owing to worker representatives' minority vote share, but works councils, which hold a range of substantive powers, may be more impactful. Overall, the German model highlights tensions between efficiency-enhancing flexibility and equity-enhancing collective action.
29.09.2022 • 24/2022
The East German economy expanded strongly in the first half of 2022, but falls into recession in the second half of the year ‒ Implications of the Joint Economic Forecast Autumn 2022 and of Länder data from recent publications of the Statistical Office
The energy crisis is pushing the German economy into recession. This also affects the economy in East Germany. According to the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), East German production will expand at a slightly stronger rate of 1.5% than in Germany as a whole. For the coming year, the decline in East Germany is expected to be less pronounced than in the west at 0.1% (Germany: ‒0.4%). For 2024, the economists forecast a growth of 1.7% (Germany: 1.9%).
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17.08.2022 • 19/2022
Labour mobility is part of structural change
The coal phase-out will also change the affected regions in that part of the workforce will migrate. Politicians should take this process into account in structural policy, because it cannot be completely prevented. A study published by the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) illustrates this with a historical example.
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Bank Concentration and Product Market Competition
Review of Financial Studies,
This paper documents a link between bank concentration and markups in nonfinancial sectors. We exploit concentration-increasing bank mergers and variation in banks’ market shares across industries and show that higher credit concentration is associated with higher markups and that high-market-share lenders charge lower loan rates. We argue that this is due to the greater incidence of competing firms sharing common lenders that induce less aggressive product market behavior among their borrowers, thereby internalizing potential adverse effects of higher rates. Consistent with our conjecture, the effect is stronger in industries with competition in strategic substitutes where negative product market externalities are greatest.
29.07.2021 • 20/2021
Communication instead of conflict – why are female CEOs so interesting for hedge funds
The value of female-led firms is enhanced more by the intervention of activist investors than that of firms with male CEOs. This is the result of a recent paper by Iftekhar Hasan (Fordham University and IWH) and Qiang Wu (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, RPI) at the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). "The results show that female CEOs particularly benefit from the intervention of hedge fund activists due to their strong communication and interpersonal skills," explains Iftekhar Hasan. This is because, on average, the intervention of an activist hedge fund increases the value of the firm ex post. To achieve this, activist hedge funds such as Carl Icahn, Trian Fundmanagement or Elliott prefer to rely on communication and cooperation with the management.
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