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Works Councils and Firm Productivity in France


This paper utilizes establishment-level data to explore the impact of works councils on firm productivity in France. A variety of empirical techniques is employed, including fixed effects and regression discontinuity designs, to identify this impact. We estimate the works council effect on productivity in union and nonunion settings, and investigate the extent to which alternative forms of worker voice and information sharing might substitute for the works council’s impact in production. We find no evidence of a positive impact of works councils on firm productivity in any of our results, and some limited evidence of a negative effect in some of the findings. There is no indication that estimated impacts on productivity vary with union status. However, a notable finding is that worker voice and information-sharing human resource practices are prevalent in French firms regardless of works council status, and are found to have positive and statistically significant effects on firm productivity.

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