Strikes and Lockouts in Sweden: Reconsidering Raphael’s List of Work Stoppages 1859-1902

Research output: Working paper


This paper presents and discusses a recently digitized, dataset of strikes and lockouts in Sweden for the period 1859-1902. The dataset, which originally was collected by Axel Raphael by retrospectively browsing through newspapers, pre-dates the Swedish official statistics on work stoppages that began in 1903. Whereas Raphael’s data have been used to illustrate the long-run development of strikes, labour historians have been hesitant or completely dismissive towards the usefulness of his work. This paper reviews, and deepens previous assessments of Raphael’s data and compares his data with the official statistics for the period after 1903. This renewed assessment leads to three conclusions. Firstly, the coverage of the data is much better after 1885 than before. Trends and fluctuations in conflict frequency obtained from Raphael’s data for the later period are probably accurate. Secondly, there are also in the later period a lot of missing information in how conflicts are described, for example with regard to number of participants and outcomes. Thirdly, there are good opportunities to complement, and enhance, Raphael’s dataset by browsing through more newspapers or consulting other sources.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History


  • strikes, lockouts, work stoppages, statistics, Sweden, nineteenth century, labour history, digital newspapers, media history, C81, J52, N33
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameLund Papers in Economic History. Education and the Labour Market
PublisherDepartment of Economic History, Lund University

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