Nok Chun, Kyung Schaller, Zachary Skaperdas, Stergios
Year of Publication:
CESifo Working Paper No. 8620
Strikes, just as other types of conflict, used to be difficult to explain from an economic perspective. Initially, it was thought that they were a result of mistakes or irrationality. Then, during the 1980s an explosion of research brought asymmetric information to prominence as a significant cause of strikes. After reviewing such long-standing potential explanations, we go over some more recent ones. When a strike changes the future strategic positions of unions relative to firms compared to a bargain, then a strike can ensue; significantly, the more important the future is considered to be (i.e., the higher is the discount factor), the more likely a strike is. In a new model we show how solidarity based on identification with the union can lead to strikes. Additionally, power asymmetries, reputation-building, and internal union politics can account for strikes within a rational-choice, economic perspective.