Advanced

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

Enflo, Kerstin LU ; Karlsson, Tobias LU and Molinder, Jakob LU (2018) In Discussion Paper series DP13130(DP13130). p.1-27
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,... (More)
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. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Working paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Industrial Conflicts, Local Labor Markets, Power Resource Theory, Strikes
in
Discussion Paper series
volume
DP13130
issue
DP13130
pages
27 pages
publisher
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
project
From Sundsvall to Saltsjöbaden: A regional perspective on strikes at the Swedish labor market
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a73bb1cb-9e56-437b-81b0-a818a94336a6
alternative location
https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13130
date added to LUP
2018-08-23 11:59:27
date last changed
2019-09-23 10:59:20
@misc{a73bb1cb-9e56-437b-81b0-a818a94336a6,
  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.},
  author       = {Enflo, Kerstin and Karlsson, Tobias and Molinder, Jakob},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {08},
  note         = {Working Paper},
  number       = {DP13130},
  pages        = {1--27},
  publisher    = {Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)},
  series       = {Discussion Paper series},
  title        = {The Power Resource Theory Revisited: What Explains the Decline in Industrial Conflicts in Sweden?},
  url          = {https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13130},
  volume       = { DP13130},
  year         = {2018},
}