Everywhere but in the Strike Statistics? Wage Systems and Work Stoppages in Sweden, 1863-1927

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To what extent did employers' attempts to control work processes and increase work intensity by introducing new wage systems lead to labour conflicts in the decades around 1900? I adress this question by combining two approaches. Firstly, by reviewing newly digitized micro-level data on work stoppages in Sweden from 1863 to 1927. Secondly, by compiling case-study evidence on work processes and industrial relations on two industries in the same period: the tobacco industry and the shipbuilding industry. The quantitative approach shows that new wages systems were seldom mentioned in the strike statistics, but there are indications that workers' views on piece rates and bonus plans changed over time, from negative to positive. The case-study evidence from the two industries suggests that both indutries experienced rationalisation measures, including new wage systems, around World War I. These changes were controversial, but disputes were solved through negotiations rather than through open conflicts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Value of Work since the 18th Century
Subtitle of host publicationCustom, Conflict, Measurement and Theory
EditorsMassimo Asta, Pedro Ramos Pinto
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-3503-3208-6, 978-1-3503-3209-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-3503-3207-2
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economic History

Free keywords

  • strikes
  • work stoppages
  • wage systems
  • Sweden
  • nineteenth century
  • twentieth century


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