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Union militancy and the probability of strikes

Author

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  • Elie Appelbaum

    () (Department of Economics, York University)

Abstract

The paper provides a model that explains the probability of strikes by the union's use of militancy as a strategic tool in bargaining. Militants are useful because they provide a credible threat, hence enhancing the union's bargaining position. Using a multi-stage bargaining game, we show that, in general, militants will be used by the union as a strategic tool. The strategic benefit of militancy is reflected by the fact that the wage and employment level will be higher in a union that uses militants, compared to a union that does not. We use the model to show that the level of militancy and the probability of a strike decrease with the union's power. This suggests that policies that increase the strength of the union will have, at least, a partial positive effect on social welfare. We also show that the model can be viewed as providing an equilibrium of a repeated game, an interpretation that can explain the probability of strikes even in the absence of militants.

Suggested Citation

  • Elie Appelbaum, 2004. "Union militancy and the probability of strikes," Working Papers 2004_4, York University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:yca:wpaper:2004_4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Strategic Militancy; Strikes; Credible Threats; Union Power; Labour Bargaining;

    JEL classification:

    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General

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