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Social democracy and the decline of strikes

Jakob Molinder (), Tobias Karlsson and Kerstin Enflo

Explorations in Economic History, 2022, vol. 83, issue C

Abstract: This paper tests if a strong labor movement leads to fewer industrial conflicts. The focus is on Sweden between the first general election in 1919 and the famous Saltsjöbaden Agreement in 1938, a formative period when the country transitioned from fierce labor conflicts to a state of industrial peace. We use panel data techniques to analyze more than 2000 strikes in 103 Swedish towns. We find that a shift of political majority towards the Social Democrats led to a significant decline in strikes, but only in towns where union presence was strong. The strike-reducing mechanism is related to corporatist explanations rather than increased social spending in municipal budgets.

Keywords: Power resource theory; Industrial conflicts; Strikes; Labor markets; Local politics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H53 J51 N34 N44 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2021.101420

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