Juli 2001

IZA DP No. 322: Works Councils and Collective Bargaining in Germany: The Impact on Productivity and Wages

revised version published in: Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 2003, 50 (4), 471-491

This paper investigates the interaction between establishment-level codetermination and industry-level collective bargaining in Germany. Based on a simple bargaining model we derive our main hypothesis: In establishments covered by collective bargaining agreements works councils are more likely to be engaged in productivity enhancing activities and less engaged in rent seeking activities than their counterparts in uncovered firms. Using data from German manufacturing establishments, our empirical analysis confirms this hypothesis. The presence of works councils exerts a positive impact on productivity within the covered industrial relations regime but not within the uncovered industrial relations regime. In contrast, the presence of works councils has a positive effect on wages within the uncovered industrial relations regime but not to the same degree within the covered industrial relations regime.