BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    In the shadow of hierarchy: minimum wage commissions in the UK and Germany

    Mabbett, Deborah (2023) In the shadow of hierarchy: minimum wage commissions in the UK and Germany. Socio-Economic Review , ISSN 1475-1461.

    [img] Text
    Minimum wage-in-shadow-final.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript
    Restricted to Repository staff only until 19 May 2025.

    Download (359kB) | Request a copy


    The adoption of statutory minimum wages has been accompanied by institutional innovations in the relationship between governments, employers and unions. In the UK and Germany, minimum wage commissions were created to recommend or determine the minimum wage. Their memberships are dominated by trade unionists and employers. Structures which engage the social partners ‘in the shadow of hierarchy’ can be efficient as well as politically expedient. They will be stable if, first, the social partners can establish a consensual basis for decisions and, second, this consensus position is near enough to the government’s position not to trigger intervention. The first condition has been met but not the second: both in the UK and Germany, governments have overridden employers and unions in order to introduce higher minimum wages. The article explores why this has happened and draws out the implications for minimum wage-fixing and the stability of shadow-of-hierarchy arrangements.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): minimum wage, labour market institutions, low-wage employment, employers, trade unions, Germany, United Kingdom, JEL codes: J3 Wages, Compensation, and Labour Costs; I3 Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Centre for British Political Life
    Depositing User: Deborah Mabbett
    Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2023 10:27
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:20


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item