A Good Time to Stay Out? Strikes and the Business Cycle
In this paper, we compile a unique historical dataset that records strike activity in the British engineering industry from 1920 to 1970. These data have the advantage of containing a fairly homogenous set of companies and workers, covering a long period with varying labour market conditions, including information that enables the addition of union and company fixed effects, and providing geographical detail that allows a district-level analysis that controls for year and seasonal effects. We study the cyclicality of strike durations, strike incidence, and strike outcomes and distinguish between pay and non-pay strikes. Like the previous literature, we find evidence that strikes over pay have countercyclical durations. However, in the post-war period, the magnitude of this effect is much reduced when union and firm fixed effects are included. These findings suggest that it is important when studying strike durations to take account of differences in the composition of companies and unions that are involved in strikes at different points of the business cycle. We also find that strike outcomes tend to be more favourable to unions when the national unemployment rate is lower.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2008|
|Publication status:||published in: British Journal of Industrial Relations, 2011, 49 (s1), s70–s92,|
|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.:
- Booth, Alison & Cressy, Robert, 1990. "Strikes with Asymmetric Information: Theory and Evidence," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(3), pages 269-291, August.
- Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1994.
"Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias?,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25.
- Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias," NBER Working Papers 4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Booth, Alison & Cressy, Robert, 1990. "Erratum [Strikes with Asymmetric Information: Theory and Evidence]," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(4), pages 492-492, Special I.
- Harrison, Alan & Stewart, Mark, 1989. "Cyclical Fluctuations in Strike Durations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 827-841, September.
- Peter Cramton & Joseph Tracy, 2003. "Unions, Bargaining and Strikes," Papers of Peter Cramton 02ubs, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 05 Sep 2002.
- Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
- Paul J. Devereux, 2001. "The Cyclicality of Real Wages within Employer-Employee Matches," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 835-850, July.
- Paul J. Devereux, 2001. "The cyclicality of real wages within employer-employee matches," Open Access publications 10197/312, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
- Kennan, John & Wilson, Robert, 1993. "Bargaining with Private Information," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 45-104, March.
- Kennan, J. & Wilson, R., 1991. "Bargaining with Private Information," Working Papers 90-01rev, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
- Harrison, Alan & Stewart, Mark, 1994. "Is Strike Behavior Cyclical?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(4), pages 524-553, October.
- Kennan, John, 1987. "The economics of strikes," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 1091-1137 Elsevier.
- Kennan, John, 1985. "The duration of contract strikes in U.S. manufacturing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 5-28, April.
- Sheena McConnell, 1990. "Cyclical Fluctuations in Strike Activity," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(1), pages 130-143, October. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)