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What Did Unions Do... An Analysis of Canadian Strike Data, 1901-14


  • Michael Huberman
  • Denise Young


Using a new data source on early Canadian strikes, this paper seeks to explain the determinants of strike durations, 1901-14. Three different approaches are evaluated: a screening model, a strike-waves model, and a war-of-attrition model. The results are sensitive to strike issue. For non-wage issue strikes, the screening model performs poorly. A strike-waves model that incorporates elements of a war-of-attrition is best suited to explain the durations of multiple-issue strikes. The determinants of durations for the period are compared with findings for the period after 1945. Avec l'aide d'une nouvelle source de données sur les grèves canadiennes, cet article cherche à expliquer les facteurs déterminants dans la durée des grèves pour la période allant de 1901 à 1914. Trois approches différentes sont évaluées : un modèle screening, un modèle vague-de-grèves, et un modèle de guerre d'usure. Les résultats sont directement liés aux facteurs mis en jeu dans les grèves. Pour les grèves dont les points de litige ne portent pas sur les revenus, le modèle screening n'est pas très adéquat. Un modèle vague-de-grève qui incorpore les éléments d'un modèle de guerre d'usure offre un meilleur cadre pour analyser les durées des grèves ayant de multiples points de litige. Les facteurs déterminants dans la durée des grèves pour la période sont comparés aux résultats trouvés pour la période d'après 1945.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Huberman & Denise Young, 1995. "What Did Unions Do... An Analysis of Canadian Strike Data, 1901-14," CIRANO Working Papers 95s-17, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:95s-17

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-679, June.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Hayes, Beth, 1984. "Unions and Strikes with Asymmetric Information," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 57-83, January.
    5. Morley Gunderson & John Kervin & Frank Reid, 1989. "The Effect of Labour Relations Legislation on Strike Incidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 22(4), pages 779-794, November.
    6. Gunderson, Morley & Melino, Angelo, 1990. "The Effects of Public Policy on Strike Duration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(3), pages 295-316, July.
    7. repec:fth:prinin:294 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Tracy, Joseph S, 1986. "An Investigation into the Determinants of U.S. Strike Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 423-436, June.
    9. Kennan, John, 1985. "The duration of contract strikes in U.S. manufacturing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 5-28, April.
    10. David Card, 1988. "Strikes and Wages: A Test of a Signalling Model," NBER Working Papers 2550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jaggia, Sanjiv, 1991. "Tests of moment restrictions in parametric duration models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 35-38, September.
    12. McConnell, Sheena, 1989. "Strikes, Wages, and Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 801-815, September.
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    More about this item


    Strike; Wage; Grève ; Revenus;

    JEL classification:

    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining


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