More Power to the People: Electriciy Adoption, Technological Change and Labour Conflict

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Will technical change spur conflicts in the labor market? In this study, we examine electricity adoption in Sweden during the first decades of the twentieth century. Exploiting that proximity to hydropowered plants shaped the electricity network independently of previous local conditions, we estimate the impact of electricity on labor strikes. Our results indicate that electricity adoption preceded an increase in conflicts, but strikes were of an offensive nature and most common in sectors with increasing labor demand. This suggests that electrification provided workers with a stronger bargaining position from which they could voice their claims.


External organisations
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481 - 512
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication categoryResearch

Related projects

View all (1)