Wage strikes in 1880s America: A test of the war of attrition model
By relating strike outcomes and durations to the value of the disputed wage change and to the cost to each side of continuing the strike, this paper tests the hypothesis that the war of attrition with asymmetric information model of strikes accurately describes the characteristics of strikes over wages in the United States in the early to middle part of the 1880s. That hypothesis is not rejected by linear, probit, or nonparametric kernel estimation. Specifically, variables that decrease a side's cost of striking or increase its opponent's cost are shown to increase its maximum holdout time, and vice versa, and strike duration increases with the value of the prize in dispute and with uncertainty about the outcome. Alternative game theoretic models of strikes--signaling and screening models, and models with ongoing negotiations--do not fit the data as well. We also explore why the strikes took the form of wars of attrition, and why later strikes did not. Our results have implications for modern union behavior in the face of globalization.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bac, Mehmet, 1996. "Incomplete Information and Incentives to Free Ride on International Environmental Resources," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 301-315, May.
- Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld & Thomas Kochan, 2004. "Taking Stock: Collective Bargaining at the Turn of the Century," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(1), pages 3-26, October.
- Bilodeau, Marc & Slivinski, Al, 1996.
"Toilet cleaning and department chairing: Volunteering a public service,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 299-308, February.
- Marc Bilodeau & Al Slivinski, "undated". "Toilet Cleaning and Department Chairing: Volunteering a Public service," Public Economics 9405001, EconWPA.
- Bilodeau, M. & Slivinsky, A., 1994. "Toilet Cleaning and Department Chairing: Volunteering a public service," Cahiers de recherche 94-01, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
- Amann, Erwin & Leininger, Wolfgang, 1996. "Asymmetric All-Pay Auctions with Incomplete Information: The Two-Player Case," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-18, May.
- Michael D. Bordo & Claudia Goldin & Eugene N. White, 1998. "The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord98-1.
- Kennan, John & Wilson, Robert, 1989. "Strategic Bargaining Models and Interpretation of Strike Data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(S), pages 87-130, Supplemen.
- Card, David & Olson, Craig A, 1995. "Bargaining Power, Strike Durations, and Wage Outcomes: An Analysis of Strikes in the 1880s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 32-61, January.
- David Card & Craig A. Olson, 1992. "Bargaining Power, Strike Durations, and Wage Outcomes: An Analysis of Strikes in the 1880s," Working Papers 674, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- David Card & Craig A. Olson, 1992. "Bargaining Power, Strike Duration, and Wage Outcomes: An Analysis of Strikes in the 1880s," NBER Working Papers 4075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mehmet Bac, 1996. "Incomplete information and incentives to free ride," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 13(4), pages 419-432.
- Richard B. Freeman, 1998. "Spurts in Union Growth: Defining Moments and Social Processes," NBER Chapters,in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 265-296 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Richard B. Freeman, 1997. "Spurts in Union Growth: Defining Moments and Social Processes," NBER Working Papers 6012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rosenbloom, Joshua L., 1998. "Strikebreaking and the Labor Market in the United States, 1881–1894," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(01), pages 183-205, March.
- Robert A. Margo, 1992. "The Labor Force in the Nineteenth Century," NBER Historical Working Papers 0040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "A Theory of Exit in Duopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 943-960, July. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)