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Rebellion against Reason? A Study of Expressive Choice and Strikes

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  • Christa N. Brunnschweiler

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

  • Colin Jennings
  • Ian A. MacKenzie

Abstract

We challenge the conventional view that strikes are caused by asymmetric information regarding firm profitability. We build an expressive model of strikes where punishing unfairness provides the expressive benefit of voting for a strike. The model predicts that larger union size increases wage offers and strike incidence. Also, although standard asymmetric information still counts, it is the employer who is not fully informed about the union's emotionality, thereby contributing to strikes. An empirical test using UK data supports the predictions. Larger union size is linked to more strikes and other industrial actions, even when controlling for standard asymmetric information.

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File URL: http://www.svt.ntnu.no/iso/WP/2012/7_rebellion.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology in its series Working Paper Series with number 13012.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 07 Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nst:samfok:13012

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Web page: http://www.svt.ntnu.no/iso/WP/wp.htm
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  1. Alan Hamlin & Colin Jennings, 2009. "Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications," Working Papers 0918, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
  2. James T. Bennett & Bruce E. Kaufman, 2004. "What Do Unions Do?: A Twenty-Year Perspective," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(3), pages 339-350, July.
  3. John Godard, 1992. "Strikes as collective voice: A behavioral analysis of strike activity," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 161-175, October.
  4. Ashenfelter, Orley & Johnson, George E, 1969. "Bargaining Theory, Trade Unions, and Industrial Strike Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 35-49, March.
  5. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
  6. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. Glazer, Amihai, 1992. "An Expressive Voting Theory of Strikes," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(4), pages 733-41, October.
  8. Andrew Gelman & Nate Silver & Aaron Edlin, 2009. "What is the probability your vote will make a difference?," NBER Working Papers 15220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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