Increased wage inequality between skilled and unskilled workers is a stylized fact, which can be observed in many developed countries. Among the explanations advanced for this phenomenon is the increasing globalization, a skill-biased technical progress, restructuring of the firms, and last but not least, a decreasing importance of industrial relations institutions. In the paper, we investigate in a three-step procedure with firms? data whether the latter determinant is influential. We control for the other relevant explanations and split industrial relations into three components - coverage of collective bargaining, existence of a works council, and union density – within a four-equation model. We find an insignificant influence of the union density. A Works council compresses the wage differentials between skilled and unskilled blue-collar workers while coverage is effective in the opposite direction. The latter two effects nearly offset each other.
Wage differentials skilled and unskilled labour union density works councils coverage of collective bargaining