Let's Take Bargaining Models Seriously: The Decline in Union Power in Germany, 1992-2009

20 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2011

See all articles by Boris Hirsch

Boris Hirsch

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Claus Schnabel

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg; IZA Institute of Labor Economics


Building on the right-to-manage model of collective bargaining, this paper tries to infer union power from the observed results in wage setting. It derives a time-varying indicator of union strength and confronts it with annual data for Germany. The results show that union power was relatively stable in the 1990s but fell substantially (by almost one-third) from 1999 to 2007. Two-thirds of this fall in union power follow from the reduction in the labour share relative to the capital share whereas changes in the gap between the net wage and the income when unemployed account for the remaining third.

Keywords: trade union power, wage bargaining, labour share, Germany

JEL Classification: J50, J51

Suggested Citation

Hirsch, Boris and Schnabel, Claus, Let's Take Bargaining Models Seriously: The Decline in Union Power in Germany, 1992-2009. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5875, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1906178

Boris Hirsch (Contact Author)

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg ( email )

Schloßplatz 4
Erlangen, DE Bavaria 91054

HOME PAGE: http://www.arbeitsmarkt.wiso.uni-erlangen.de/english/hirsch_e.htm

Claus Schnabel

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg ( email )

Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
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HOME PAGE: http://https://www.arbeitsmarkt.rw.fau.de/english-version/staff/prof-dr-claus-schnabel/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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