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Works Councils and French Productivity

WCIn the United States, Works Councils have been in the news since the attempt to form the first Works Council in the United States at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. Works Councils are a primarily European entity and serve as a go between between both blue and white collar workers and management concerning workplace aspects such as workplace environment and rules. Discussions on wages and benefits are left to negotiations between management and unions.  However, a Works Council would face great limitations compared to their European counterparts due to U.S. labor laws and could only be consulted on limited matters.

In Works Councils and Productivity in France, the authors examine the impact of WCs on French firms. The authors examine the impact of WCs on both union and nonunion firms and examined the impact of other information sharing vehicles on productivity.

The authors found no evidence of a positive impact of WCs on French worker productivity and found a slight negative impact in some instances.This result did not vary depending on union status.  The authors also found information sharing practices prevalent in French firms regardless of WC status had a positive and statistically significant effect on productivity.


One Comment

  1. Folk wisdom outside of labor economics circles is that unions are bad, bad, bad. The empirical story is that they are sometimes helpful, and often irrelevant. How helpful? — you get greater stability of employment and (weak) checks on faddish management. Most important, greater stability encourages firms to invest in training. Works councils also have a role in wage setting, providing commonality within industries and across industries.

    Now the table you provide suggests that these are panel data [note: “data” is plural], cross-sections from several years. Descriptive statistics are just that: what are the magnitudes and (sometimes, as here) variances of the variables. Your summary suggests no strong findings in the regressions that are surely part of the paper.

    Finally, include a full citation. Author and title are???

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