International Trade and Collective Bargaining Outcomes: Evidence from German Employer–Employee Data

TitleInternational Trade and Collective Bargaining Outcomes: Evidence from German Employer–Employee Data
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsFelbermayr, Gabriel, Schmerer, Hans-Jörg, and Hauptmann, Andreas
JournalThe Scandinavian Journal of Economics
Volume116
Pagination820 - 837
Keywordscollective bargaining, employer–employee data, Germany, trade unions
Abstract

In theoretical trade models with variable mark-ups and collective wage bargaining, exposure to international markets might reduce the exporter wage premium. We test this prediction using linked German employer–employee data covering the years 1996–2007. To separate the rent-sharing mechanism from assortative matching, we exploit individual worker information to construct profitability measures that are free of skill composition. Our results show that rent-sharing is less pronounced in more export-intensive firms or in more open industries. The exporter wage premium is highest for low-productivity firms. In line with theory, these findings are unique to the subsample of plants covered by collective bargaining.