Democracy at Work: a Study of the 2008 French Union Representativity Reform

Philippe Askenazy (CNRS-ENS-Centre Maurice Halbwachs)
Thomas Breda (CNRS-Paris School of Economics and IPP)

Abstract : We evaluate the effects of a central French reform that made the conditions for firm-level union recognition more democratic after 2008. The law gave equal chances to all unions to be recognized for bargaining, putting an end to the quasi-monopoly given to five historical unions until then. The law also introduced votes and minimal electoral requirements for union recognition. These new regulations only became effective at the first firms' work councils elections following the promulgation of the law. Those elections occur within each firm according to a pre-defined frequency, so that election dates only depend on former election dates, and can be considered as quasi-random with respect to the new law, at least in firms that are old enough. The identification thus relies on a regression discontinuity design in which the running variable is the firms' work councils election date: we compare in 2011 firms that had those elections just before or just after the law was passed. We find that the democratic rules introduced in 2008 improved both employers' and workers' satisfaction and trust towards unions are increased. Union coverage and membership are also increased. Finally, light conflicts increased but workers exited less.

A Theory of Regional Conflict Complexes

Arthur Silve (Université Laval)
Thierry Verdier (PSE, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, PUC-Rio and CEPR)

Abstract : Civil conflicts spill over to neighboring countries. This paper proposes a theory of the contagion of civil wars, emphasizing two main channels of diffusion of a conflict. First, weak territorial control facilitates the emergence of a regional market for war inputs in the "porous frontier." Second, refugees fleeing a conflict zone may unwittingly destabilize their host country. In both cases, the contagion effect is nonlinear and creates multiple equilibrium situations of regional complexes of civil conflicts. This helps explain observed patterns of regional clustering of conflict and state capacity, and raises identification issues in the measurement of the contagion effect. We also derive a positive spillover of civil wars: governments are sometimes in a position to avoid contagion by improving their institutions. Finally, we explore policy implications for military intervention, military and institutional cooperation, and the international coordination of refugee policy.

Intra-elite Conflict and Information Disclosure

Tinghua Yu (Columbia University)

Abstract : Autocracies vary widely in transparency of information disclosure to political elites. To account for the variations, I present a model of internal information disclosure that emphasizes an autocrat's political survival problem. To persuade the elites to support her rule, the autocrat strategically designs an internal information system. The bureaucratic structure of the internal information gathering system implements a desirable form of information disclosure. A higher quality bureaucracy implements a more transparent information disclosure. I characterize the optimal information disclosure in autocracies with coherent elite groups and that in autocracies where the elite splits into factions. I show that whether an autocracy with elite division has a higher bureaucratic quality and hence a more transparent information disclosure depends on aspects of the intra-elite division. When the autocrat's faction (the ruling faction) faces intense competition from the opposition faction, she is more likely to adopt an information system with a high bureaucratic quality and a high level of transparency. Meanwhile, when the ruling faction's political entrenchment depends on the survival of the incumbent, she is less likely to adopt an information system with a high bureaucratic quality and a high level of transparency. Further, there is a non-monotonic relationship between the degree of the inter-factional conflict and bureaucratic quality (transparency). As conflict increases, bureaucratic capacity (transparency) increases up to a threshold. Beyond this threshold, increased conflict is associated with reduced bureaucratic capacity (transparency).