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Vocational training and industrial relations in France and Germany

Abstract : This PhD thesis is a collection of three essays in labour economics. In a comparative fashion, they analyse key institutions of the French and German political economies. The chapters successively estimate the size of discrimination towards works councilors, the effect of apprenticeship training on labour integration and the impact of subsidies offered to develop this form of training. The main results are analysed from both the perspectives of France and Germany and present conclusions on the recent institutional trajectories of the two countries.The first chapter of this PhD thesis proposes an analysis of wage trajectories of German works councilors. This outcome, I claim, offers a good way to analyse the functioning of bargaining in the country. I find proofs that some strategic discrimination towards works councilors takes place in Germany. In the manufacturing sector, being elected to the works council causes a rise in labour income. Conversely, in the private service sectors, entering office negatively impacts wages. In both sectors, the size of these impacts on yearly pay rise is of about 1 to 2 pp. I further show that unionized and politically inclined councilors receive most of the (negative or positive) premium in both sectors. For them, the size of the impact is close to 3 pp. These results emphasize a decline in the quality of cooperation in the countryChapter 2 compares how well apprenticeship training helps open the door to the labour market in France and Germany between 1998 and 2013. It shows that, on average, apprentices do better in both countries than standard students upon completion of secondary or higher education. This is true both on the short- and medium-run. In terms of the unemployment rate in the year after education, the difference between the two countries is equivalent to about 6.75 pp more for France. Turning to causal claims, I find that apprenticeships advantage low school achievers leaving school upon completion of secondary education in France. The opposite applies in Germany. Explanation for this result is twofold. First, standard students (i.e. the control group) in Germany do much better than their counterparts in France. Second, mobility upon graduation is about double in France but non-retained graduates still benefit from the good signal of their diploma on the external market which is not the case of their German counterparts. I finally find no causal impact of the track on the integration of student’s exiting school after higher education. Chapter 3 evaluates the impact of a large hiring credit – the Indemnité Compensatrice Forfaitaire – offered to employers of apprentices in France and which got regionalized between 2005 and 2014. At the time of its regionalization, it accounted for about a quarter of all public money spent on apprenticeships. The analysis shows that the subsidy fosters turnover strategies. Thus, I find a limited but significantly negative elasticity of the number of apprentices hired to training costs. The point estimate is -0.22. The impact however mostly plays at the intensive margin (training firms taking on more apprentices) rather than at the extensive margin (new firms entering the system). This suggests that training firms may respond to subsidies by training over their needs in skills. Confirming this interpretation, I find that the elasticity of mobility upon graduation to training cost is negative and equal to -0.40.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 12, 2021 - 10:03:11 PM
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Clément Brébion. Vocational training and industrial relations in France and Germany. Economics and Finance. École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019EHES0166⟩. ⟨tel-03168288⟩



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