IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/13130.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Power Resource Theory Revisited: What Explains the Decline in Industrial Conflicts in Sweden?

Author

Listed:
  • Enflo, Kerstin
  • Karlsson, Tobias
  • Molinder, Jakob

Abstract

This paper revisits the Power Resource Theory by testing one of its more influential claims: the relation between the strength of the labor movement and the reduction of industrial conflicts. Using panel data techniques to analyze more than 2,000 strikes in 103 Swedish towns we test whether a shift in the balance of power towards Social Democratic rule was associated with fewer strikes. The focus is on the formative years between the first general election in 1919 and the famous Saltsjöbaden Agreement in 1938, the period when Sweden went from a country of fierce labor conflicts to a state of industrial peace. The spatial dimension provides new possibilities to test the theory. We find that Social Democratic power reduced strike activity, but only in towns where union presence was strong. Powerful unions in themselves did not reduce local strike activity. On the contrary, we find that the rise of the Social Democratic Party in municipal governments offset about 45 percent of the estimated effect of growing union presence on industrial conflicts. We do not see any significant tangible concessions in terms of increased social spending by local governments after a left-wing victory as predicted by Power Resource Theory. Instead the mechanism leading to fewer strikes appears to be related to corporatist explanations.

Suggested Citation

  • Enflo, Kerstin & Karlsson, Tobias & Molinder, Jakob, 2018. "The Power Resource Theory Revisited: What Explains the Decline in Industrial Conflicts in Sweden?," CEPR Discussion Papers 13130, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13130
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13130
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Moene, K.O. & Wallerstein, M. & Hoel, M., 1992. "Bargaining Structure and Economic Performance," Memorandum 10/1992, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    2. Alejandro Donado & Klaus Wa¨lde, 2012. "How trade unions increase welfare," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(563), pages 990-1009, September.
    3. Kerstin Enflo & Tobias Karlsson, 2019. "From conflict to compromise: the importance of mediation in Swedish work stoppages 1907–1927," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 268-298.
    4. Hibbs, Douglas A., 1976. "Industrial Conflict in Advanced Industrial Societies," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 1033-1058, December.
    5. Erik Bengtsson & Jakob Molinder, 2017. "The economic effects of the 1920 eight-hour working day reform in Sweden," Scandinavian Economic History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 65(2), pages 149-168, May.
    6. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Enflo, Kerstin & Karlsson, Tobias & Molinder, Jakob, 2019. "More Power to the People: Electricity Adoption, Technological Change and Social Conflict," CEPR Discussion Papers 13986, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Eric Melander, 2020. "Transportation Technology, Individual Mobility and Social Mobilisation," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 471, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Maria Victoria Murillo & Mariano Tommasi & Lucas Ronconi & Juan Sanguinetti, 2002. "The Economic Effects of Unions in Latin America: Teachers' Unions and Education in Argentina," Research Department Publications 3156, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    2. Haile, Getinet & Bryson, Alex & White, Michael, 2015. "Spillover effects of unionisation on non-members' wellbeing," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 108-122.
    3. Borrel, Monique, 1992. "The Impact of Labor Disputes on the Fabric of French Society From 1950 to the Mid-80's0," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt3mq3b9wt, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    4. repec:eee:labchp:v:2:y:1986:i:c:p:1091-1137 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Lewkowicz Jacek & Lewczuk Anna, 2017. "An Institutional Approach to Trade Union Density. The Case of Legal Origins and Political Ideology," Central European Economic Journal, Sciendo, vol. 2(49), pages 35-49, December.
    6. Steinar Holden, 1998. "Wage Drift and the Relevance of Centralised Wage Setting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(4), pages 711-731, December.
    7. Benoît Lyrette & Paul-Martel Roy, 1992. "Le régime des décrets favorise-t-il la paix industrielle? L'expérience des activités manufacturières québécoises, 1980-1988," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 18(3), pages 261-274, September.
    8. Drakopoulos, Stavros A., 2008. "The Concept Of Comparison Income: An Historical Perspective," MPRA Paper 8713, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Christopher Bruce & Jeremy Clark, 2010. "The Efficiency of Direct Public Involvement in Environmental Policymaking: An Experimental Test," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 45(2), pages 157-182, February.
    10. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2015. "The Rise and Decline of General Laws of Capitalism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(1), pages 3-28, Winter.
    11. repec:eee:labchp:v:2:y:1986:i:c:p:1039-1089 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Vicente Calabuig Alcantara, 1997. "Ineficiencias en las negociaciones entre dos agentes completamente informados," Working Papers. Serie EC 1997-03, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    13. Edward L. Glaeser & Cass R. Sunstein, 2015. "A Theory of Civil Disobedience," NBER Working Papers 21338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. 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.
    15. Christa N. Brunnschweiler & Colin Jennings & Ian A. MacKenzie, 2012. "Rebellion against Reason? A Study of Expressive Choice and Strikes," Working Paper Series 13012, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    16. Naylor, Robin, 2002. "The Effects Of Entry In Bilateral Oligopoly," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 638, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    17. Fernandez, Raquel & Glazer, Jacob, 1991. "Striking for a Bargain between Two Completely Informed Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 240-252, March.
    18. Henry S. Farber, 1984. "The Analysis of Union Behavior," NBER Working Papers 1502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 246, CESifo.
    20. John Addison & John Burton, 1984. "The sociopolitical analysis of inflation," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 120(1), pages 90-120, March.
    21. Bengtsson, Erik & Prado, Svante, 2019. "The rise of the middle class: The income gap between salaried employees and workers in Sweden, 1830-1935," Lund Papers in Economic History 186, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    22. Allan Fels & Tran Van Hoa, 1981. "Causal Relationships in Australian Wage Inflation and Minimum Award Rates," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 57(1), pages 23-34, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    industrial conflicts; Local Labor Markets; Power Resource Theory; strikes;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13130. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.