Das Dokument ist öffentlich zugänglich im Rahmen des deutschen Urheberrechts.

German public sector wage restraint has been explained through the presence of a specific type of inter-sectoral wage coordination in the industrial relations system - i.e., export sector-led pattern bargaining. This paper has a twofold ambition. First, as a literatureassessing exercise, I review the literature in industrial relations and comparative political economy (CPE) and find that (1) the origins and mechanics of inter-sectoral wage coordination through pattern bargaining have never been laid out clearly; (2) the mechanisms of the pattern bargaining thesis have never been tested empirically; and (3) the CPE literature reveals a limiting export-sector bias. Second, as a theory-testing exercise, I perform hoop tests to verify whether the pattern bargaining hypothesis can really account for wage restraint in the German public sector. I find that Germany cannot be considered a case of export sector-driven pattern bargaining. These findings challenge core tenets of a longstanding scholarship in both CPE and industrial relations. Most importantly, they open a new research agenda for the study of public sector wage-setting that should shift its focus to public sector employment relations, public finance, public administrations, and the politics of fiscal policy.