How Asymmetrically Increasing Joint Strike Costs Need Not Lead to Fewer Strikes
The "joint costs" model states that the incentive to strike is inversely related to the total costs associated with workers' and firms' strike activities. Not only has this model been tested with mixed results, but also the joint costs model is problematic in explaining several stylized facts in the strike literature because higher strike costs do not always yield a lower incidence of strike activity. This paper illustrates how the joint cost model can yield these counterintuitive results. It shows that strike incidence need not decrease when joint strike costs increase. The innovation is to raise union and firm joint strike costs in an asymmetric way. Increasing a particular side's strike costs necessarily decreases its incentive to strike. However, in response, the other side's incentive can increase, since under a number of circumstances it holds out with a higher probability in order to collect the relatively larger expected rents coming about because the other side's implicit threat point decreases. To illustrate this, we model contract negotiations as a simple one-period game. (No need for more complex repeated games such as attrition since our point is only to show as simply as possible why the joint-costs model yields ambiguous results.) We use standard Hicksian concession curves to derive a payoff matrix. The payoff matrix results in contract negotiations following along the lines of a "game of chicken". The solution to the game yields no one stable pure Nash-equilibrium strategy, but instead a mixed strategy so that choices become probabilistic depending upon union and firm concession curve parameters. The results indicate that increasing either party's strike costs can have ambiguous effects on strike incidence. This ambiguity may explain why higher strike costs need not always lead to fewer strikes, and thus may account for the mixed success observed in studies that empirically test the joint costs model with strike incidence data. Although couched in terms of strikes, the results are equally applicable to other negotiation situations.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2017|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
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.:
- Ana Mauleon & Vincent Vannetelbosch, 1999.
"Profit sharing and strike activity in Cournot oligopoly,"
Journal of Economics,
Springer, vol. 69(1), pages 19-40, February.
- MAULEON, Ana & VANNETELBOSCH, Vincent J., "undated". "Profit sharing and strike activity in Cournot oligopoly," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1388, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Vroman, Susan B, 1989. "A Longitudinal Analysis of Strike Activity in U.S. Manufacturing: 1957-1984," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 816-826, September.
- Petrakis, Emmanuel & Vlassis, Minas, 2000. "Endogenous scope of bargaining in a union-oligopoly model: when will firms and unions bargain over employment?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 261-281, May.
- Timothy C. G. Fisher, 1991. "An Empirical Study of the Adverse Selection Model of Strikes," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 24(3), pages 499-516, August.
- Reder, Melvin W & Neumann, George R, 1980. "Conflict and Contract: The Case of Strikes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 867-886, October.
- Cynthia L. Gramm, 1987. "New Measures of the Propensity to Strike during Contract Negotiations, 1971â€“1980," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(3), pages 406-417, April.
- John Godard, 2011. "What Has Happened to Strikes?," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 49(2), pages 282-305, 06.
- Vannetelbosch, Vincent J., 1997. "Wage bargaining with incomplete information in an unionized Cournot oligopoly," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 353-374, May.
- Vannetelbosch, V. J., "undated". "Wage bargaining with incomplete information in an unionized Cournot oligopoly," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1303, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- 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.
- Raquel Fernandez & Jacob Glazer, 1989. "Striking for a Bargain Between Two Completely Informed Agents," NBER Working Papers 3108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jean-Michel Cousineau & Robert Lacroix, 1986. "Imperfect Information and Strikes: An Analysis of Canadian Experience, 1967â€“82," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(3), pages 377-387, April.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sopher, Barry, 1990. "Bargaining and the Joint-Cost Theory of Strikes: An Experimental Study," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 48-74, January.
- Geraghty, Thomas M. & Wiseman, Thomas, 2008. "Wage strikes in 1880s America: A test of the war of attrition model," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 303-326, September.
- Farber, Henry S, 1978. "Bargaining Theory, Wage Outcomes, and the Occurrence of Strikes: An Econometric Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 262-271, June.
- Martin J. Mauro, 1982. "Strikes as a Result of Imperfect Information," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(4), pages 522-538, July. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10723. 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: (Mark Fallak)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.