The project aims at analyzing collective bargaining in the German institutional context and highlights innovative forms and processes of collective bargaining. Modern and flexible regulations as a result of collective bargaining are an object of interest in this project as well. On the basis of theoretical analyses, possible outcomes of procedural reform alternatives are discussed and, if possible, empirically confirmed. In the case where innovative regulations have already been integrated into collective agreements, the emphasis is put on the empirical analysis. In the first, empirical part of the project, opening clauses in collective agreements and the determinants of their use are examined in detail in order to assess the effects on wages and employment. The results are used to judge whether such clauses considerably enhance firm flexibility in wage determination. For the empirical analysis, linked employer-employee data of the IAB (LIAB) are used. This allows to identify those enterprises that use opening clauses. The second, predominantly theoretical part of the project deals with the collapse of contract negotiations in collective bargaining and with the outbreak of strikes. To gain insights on reform options that prevent the breakdown of negotiations, the specific German institutional framework is examined and compared to the situation in other countries. On this basis, institutional alternatives are identified and examined, that are suitable to establish mutual confidence between the participants involved. Thereby, the aim is to identify key factors that prevent unproductive strikes. In particular, different forms of arbitration procedures are examined against the background that employers associations are better informed about the profit situation than the unions. Furthermore, policy and procedures such as codes of behaviour, modalities of strike ballots, regulations for side-effects of strikes and centralization degree of wage negotiations are discussed. For empirical support of the theoretical results, findings from other countries are used.


Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau e.V. , Frankfurt am Main , DE

Project duration

01.05.2007 - 31.01.2008