Social democracy and the decline of strikes

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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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalExplorations in Economic History
Early online date2021 Jul 15
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan 13

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economic History

Free keywords

  • Power resource theory
  • Industrial conflicts
  • Strikes
  • Labor markets
  • Local politics
  • N34
  • N44
  • H53
  • J51


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