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Hagen Lesch / Helena Bach / Sandra Vogel IW-Policy Paper No. 11 8. December 2023 Collective bargaining autonomy in a crisis of legitimacy?

In Germany, the employers recognised the trade unions as the appointed representatives of the employees in November 1918.

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Collective bargaining autonomy in a crisis of legitimacy?
Hagen Lesch / Helena Bach / Sandra Vogel IW-Policy Paper No. 11 8. December 2023

Collective bargaining autonomy in a crisis of legitimacy?

German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

In Germany, the employers recognised the trade unions as the appointed representatives of the employees in November 1918.

This introduced collective bargaining autonomy. Since then, it has been observed that the state monitors and sometimes steers the collective bargaining process. This behaviour can be explained by using a Principal Agent Model as an analytical framework. The state acts like a princal, while the social partners behave like agents. While the state leaves the regulation of wages and working conditions to the social partners, it expects their loyalty in return. In this sense, collective bargaining autonomy must legitimise itself by beeing useful. An analysis of historical debates since 1918 shows: If the social partners do not contribute to the economic and social policy objectives of the state, the state uses various steering instruments to restore their loyalty and ensure the usefullness of collective bargaining autonomy. Overall, some learning processes and a high degree of path dependency of the institutional framework can be observed. The learning processes show the state should strengthen and not weaken social partners‘ responsibility in the event of future steering of collective bargaining autonomy.

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Collective bargaining autonomy in a crisis of legitimacy?
Hagen Lesch / Helena Bach / Sandra Vogel IW-Policy Paper No. 11 8. December 2023

Collective bargaining autonomy in a crisis of legitimacy?

German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

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An Analysis of the Earnings of Employees Covered and Not Covered by Collective Agreements Based on the SOEP
Helena Bach/Andrea Hammermann IW-Trends No. 4 29. December 2023

Do Companies Bound by Collective Agreements Pay Better?

When discussing the gradual erosion of collective bargaining coverage, reference is often made to the importance of collective agreements in securing high salaries for employees.

IW

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Carolin Fulda / Hagen Lesch / Christoph Schröder / Sandra Vogel IW-Analyse No. 154 5. December 2023

The Influence of the Minimum Wage on Collective Bargaining

This analysis examines the connection between collective wage bargaining in Germany and the adjustments to the statutory minimum wage determined by the Minimum Wage Commission since June 2020.

IW

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