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A study of expressive choice and strikes

Author

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  • Brunnschweiler, Christa N.
  • Jennings, Colin
  • MacKenzie, Ian A.

Abstract

The conventional explanation for strikes is that they are caused by an asymmetry of information about the profitability of the firm — union members are uninformed whereas management are informed. Instead, this paper builds a model of strikes where a perception of unfairness provides an expressive benefit to vote for a strike. The asymmetry of information is now reversed such that management are uninformed about the emotionality of union members. The model predicts that larger union size increases both wage offers and the incidence of strikes. An empirical test using UK data provides support for the predictions. In particular, union size is positively correlated with the incidence of strikes and other industrial actions, even when asymmetric information regarding profitability is controlled for.

Suggested Citation

  • Brunnschweiler, Christa N. & Jennings, Colin & MacKenzie, Ian A., 2014. "A study of expressive choice and strikes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 111-125.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:34:y:2014:i:c:p:111-125
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2014.01.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arenas, Andreu, 2016. "Sticky votes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 12-25.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Strikes; Expressive choice; Fairness; Survey analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation

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