WSI Mitteilungen

: Issue 06/2019

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2019, pp. 403–411

Petra Dünhaupt, Hansjörg Herr, Fabian Mehl, Christina Teipen

Development opportunities through integration into global value chains: a comparison between countries and industries


In liberal trade theory, it is generally assumed that the development of export-oriented industries in the Global South can create the conditions for technological spillover effects, productivity increases and social welfare gains. However, based on the results of comparative case studies in four sectors (clothing, automotive, electronics and IT services) and six emerging and developing countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, South Africa, Vietnam), successful economic integration into global value chains is not necessarily associated with better working conditions, nor with positive employment and welfare effects. It also becomes clear that the country-specific context of a particular industry plays a greater role in determining these effects than is often assumed. Here the decisive factors are in particular the national system of industrial relations and the power of trade unions. At the same time, it can be asserted from this study that without coherent industrial policy strategies it is not possible to realize the opportunities for development that arise as a product of deeper integration into the global economy. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2019, pp. 412-420

Stefanie Börner

Social rights in the EU. A resume


The common legal and economic framework of the EU has turned the vast socio-economic differences within Europe into virulent problems of social inequality – problems that it attempts to tackle within its limited resources. The article takes the EU’s self-expressed social commitment as a starting point and analyses its approaches to social policy from a social-rights perspective. It first discusses why Marshall’s social citizenship concept provides a useful analytical tool to assess the social policies enacted so far at the European level and then presents an institutional analysis of the EU’s four major social-policy activities: harmonising, funding, cooperation and coordination. This analysis focuses on the coverage, legal certainty and the addressees of these policies to determine how these policies measure up against social-rights standards. The findings point to the poor development of transnational social citizenship given the special nature of EU social policies. The only social rights that exist at the European level are in the field of social-security coordination. And even those are marked by a selectivity that excludes citizens who are not transnationally active and those who are, but lack the necessary means to provide for themselves. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2019, pp. 421-430

Silke Bothfeld, Petra Kaps, Peer Rosenthal

More further training through new social rights?


Further training is seen as the key to coping with structural change. The institutional approach to policy analysis can highlight the chances and pitfalls of new policies. From an institutional starting point this article scrutinises and compares the recently introduced training voucher for employees (2018), the concept of an individual employees’ account suggested by the Federal Department of Labour (BMAS 2017) and the model of a collectively organised training fund, developed by Gerhard Bosch (Bosch 2010). The authors thereby show that the effectiveness of new instruments should be assessed by whether the purpose and target group are adequately specified, by what extent these instruments enhance social rights, and whether they fit in with the existing policy regime as a whole. The analysis provides political benchmarks for the practicability and institutional consequences of reform proposals. It demonstrates that institutional criteria are just as necessary as economic cost-benefit assessments in labour market policy making. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2019, pp. 431-439

Hartmut Seifert

How much time autonomy do flexible working time arrangements offer?


The article investigates the extent to which flexible forms of working time offer the employees time autonomy. Current results from the empirical research are discussed and observed deficiencies are presented. For the most widespread form of flexible working time, time accounts, document analysis from nearly 600 company-based agreements shows some potential for time autonomy, but this is limited by operational concerns. Newer statutory and tariff regulations on working time options promise more time autonomy, because unlike time accounts, they give the employees forms of legal rights. Overall, empirical research on time autonomy is still in its infancy. Above all, methodological aspects display deficits. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2019, pp. 440-450

Dorothee Spannagel, Katharina Molitor

Income inequality continues to rise. WSI report on income distribution 2019


The annual WSI report on the distribution of income and wealth gives evidence that income inequality in Germany is continuing to rise. At the core is the question of how inequality has developed since the steep rise at the start of the 2000s, a topic that is widely debated. Based on analysis of data from the GSOEP it is shown that income distribution remained fairly stable between 2005 and 2010 but after 2010 a marked rise in inequality is to be observed. This development has taken place despite good economic conditions and a very favourable labour market situation. The analyses reveal that the recent increase in income inequality is caused by developments at the margins of the distribution. In order to prevent further deterioration and to ward off a deep division in society, we have to draw on these findings: Households at the top end of the income distribution have to increase their contributions to redistribution. In order to fully integrate those households at the bottom end of the scale into society, we have to increase the statutory minimum wage as well as to strengthen collective wage agreements and to change labour market policies. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2019, pp. 451-458

Pierre-André Gericke, Alfons Schmid

Professional qualifications: mismatches among employees in Germany


This article examines under-qualification and over-qualification within individual occupations as well as in aggregate employment in Germany. To measure qualification mismatches, the formal education of employees is compared with the educational requirements of their actual job. Contrary to the common focus on overqualification in the literature it is shown that in Germany under-qualified employees are more common. Concerning professional mismatches, the empirical results show considerable differences between various professions. Only some of the existing theories on qualification mismatches explain the number of underqualified employees and professional mismatches. The empirical results presented in this study can be best explained by using an approach that combines the concept of partial labour markets, the assignment model and an institutional economics perspective. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2019, pp. 459-462

Sascha Kristin Futh

Making the most of the potential of skilled workers in mechanical and plant engineering: A field of action for works councils


Employers in mechanical and plant engineering are increasingly complaining that there is a shortage of skilled workers in the sector. On the other hand, they make insufficient use of existing potential on the labour market and among their employees. In this context, questions of personnel planning, qualification and age-appropriate workplace design, which are aggravated by demographic change, are gaining in importance. The works councils within the sector are aware of this. For this reason, in the project ZuArbeit-BIV 20, works council committees together with IG Metall have developed options for action and instruments to achieve sustainable change in the companies. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2019, pp. 463-464

Beate Müller-Gemmeke

The minimum wage must protect individuals from poverty


The level of the minimum wage in Germany was set far too low and needs to significantly increase to protect individuals from poverty. According to the law, the Minimum Wage Commission, responsible for the structuring of the minimum wage, orients an increase in the minimum wage to the situation of pay scale rates. The decision-making ability of the Minimum Wage Commission to increase the minimum wage to a level that protects individuals from poverty, needs to be extended by the Minimum Wage Law (MiLoG) and in addition the number of representatives of the scientific members of the Commission increased. The latter should also receive voting rights. These steps would lay the foundation for the Minimum Wage Commission to be able to achieve the desired socio-political aim of establishing a minimum wage that effectively protects individuals from poverty. The decision by how much the minimum wage should be increased must remain in the hands of the Commission. In this way it can be guaranteed that the minimum wage does not become a political pawn for changing political majorities. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2019, pp. 465-466

Thorsten Schulten

How to continue with the minimum wage?


Five years after the introduction of the minimum wage, the results are ambivalent; on the one hand, millions of employees have benefited from the minimum wage and in many cases received significant wage increases. On the other hand, the low-wage sector has shown hardly any reduction. Even the minimum wage still does not guarantee a living wage level. Against this background, this article argues in favour of using the evaluation of the minimum wage law planned for 2020 and rethinking the level and adjustment of the minimum wage. The article also makes concrete proposals for reforming the adjustment mechanism and calls for an extraordinary increase in the minimum wage to 12 €. more... (in German)