Uncovered Workers in Plants Covered by Collective Bargaining: Who Are They and How Do They Fare?
British Journal of Industrial Relations,
Abstract In Germany, employers used to pay union members and non-members in a plant the same union wage in order to prevent workers from joining unions. Using recent administrative data, we investigate which workers in firms covered by collective bargaining agreements still individually benefit from these union agreements, which workers are not covered anymore and what this means for their wages. We show that about 9 per cent of workers in plants with collective agreements do not enjoy individual coverage (and thus the union wage) anymore. Econometric analyses with unconditional quantile regressions and firm-fixed-effects estimations demonstrate that not being individually covered by a collective agreement has serious wage implications for most workers. Low-wage non-union workers and those at low hierarchy levels particularly suffer since employers abstain from extending union wages to them in order to pay lower wages. This jeopardizes unions' goal of protecting all disadvantaged workers.
Ausgewählte Publikationen ...
Industrial Relations: Worker Codetermination and Collective Wage Bargaining
Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik,
Trade unions and employers’ associations, collective bargaining, and employee representation at the workplace are the cornerstones of industrial relations systems in many developed countries. Germany stands out as a country with powerful works councils and a high coverage rate of collective bargaining agreements, supported by encompassing interest groups of employees and employers and by the state. The German case and the perceived stability of its industrial relations regime have attracted considerable attention among researchers and politicians, which also has to do with the country’s high productivity, comparably few strikes, and relatively minor employment problems. However, in recent years industrial relations in many countries including Germany have come under pressure and the fact that there is no obvious and clearly superior alternative to the current regime of industrial and labour relations may not be sufficient to guarantee the survival of the present system.
How Selective Are Real Wage Cuts? A Micro-analysis Using Linked Employer–Employee Data
LABOUR: Review of Labour Economics and Industrial Relations,
Using linked employer–employee panel data for Germany, we investigate whether firms implement real wage reductions in a selective manner. In line with insider–outsider and several strands of efficiency wage theory, we find strong evidence for selective wage cuts with high-productivity workers being spared even when controlling for permanent differences in firms' wage policies. In contrast to some recent contributions stressing fairness considerations, we also find that wage cuts increase wage dispersion among peers rather than narrowing it. Notably, the same selectivity pattern shows up when restricting our analysis to firms covered by collective agreements or having a works council.
The Levelling Effect of Product Market Competition on Gender Wage Discrimination
IZA Journal of Labor Economics,
Using linked employer–employee panel data for West Germany that include direct information on the competition faced by plants, we investigate the effect of product market competition on the gender pay gap. Controlling for match fixed effects, we find that intensified competition significantly lowers the unexplained gap in plants with neither collective agreements nor a works council. Conversely, there is no effect in plants with these types of worker codetermination, which are unlikely to have enough discretion to adjust wages in the short run. We also document a larger competition effect in plants with few females in their workforces. Our findings are in line with Beckerian taste-based employer wage discrimination that is limited by competitive forces.
Labor Demand During the Crisis: What Happened in Germany?
IZA. Discussion Paper No. 6074,
In Germany, the employment response to the post-2007 crisis has been muted compared to other industrialized countries. Despite a large drop in output, employment has hardly changed. In this paper, we analyze the determinants of German firms’ labor demand during the crisis using a firm-level panel dataset. Our analysis proceeds in two steps. First, we estimate a dynamic labor demand function for the years 2000-2009 accounting for the degree of working time flexibility and the presence of works councils. Second, on the basis of these
estimates, we use the difference between predicted and actual employment as a measure of labor hoarding as the dependent variable in a cross-sectional regression for 2009. Apart from total labor hoarding, we also look at the determinants of subsidized labor hoarding through short-time work. The structural characteristics of firms using these channels of adjustment differ. Product market competition has a negative impact on total labor hoarding but a positive effect on the use of short-time work. Firm covered by collective agreements hoard less labor overall; firms without financial frictions use short-time work less intensively.