Even without codetermination, European countries have high baseline levels of worker participation. Surveys of European managers suggest that the level of involvement in decision-making between workers with and without formal board representation are comparable.

"The evidence for a robust culture of informal worker involvement comes from interviews of European managers conducted as part of the European Company Survey. As illustrated in Figure 8, across both the 2013 and 2019 waves of the survey, managers in establishments without formal worker representation report levels of worker involvement in decision-making comparable to the levels of worker involvement in firms with formal codetermination. For example, in the 2013 survey, just under 50% of managers in firms without formal worker representation reported that workers were directly involved in the firm’s most important recent decision, compared to 60% of managers in firms with worker representation who said that worker representatives were involved in the most important recent decision (Panel (a) of Figure 8). In the 2019 survey, about 55% of managers in establishments without worker representation said that workers directly exerted a "moderate" or "great" amount of influence over decisions about working conditions, compared to 45% of managers in firms with worker representation who said the same thing about worker representatives (Panel (b) of Figure 8). Panel (c) of Figure 8 shows that larger European firms (which are more likely to be subject to codetermination requirements) do not involve workers in decision-making more frequently than smaller firms; rather, the nature of the worker involvement simply shifts, from informal direct involvement in smaller firms to formal representation in larger firms. Panel (d) of Figure 8 shows that, in simple cross-country regressions, the strength of a country’s codetermination laws is uncorrelated with the percentage of firms in that country who report some kind of worker involvement in decision-making. Overall, this evidence paints a picture of widespread informal worker participation in decision-making even in firms without formal codetermination."