Kaufman, Bruce E.
July 1982
Industrial & Labor Relations Review;Jul82, Vol. 35 Issue 4, p473
Academic Journal
This study aims to assess the recent debate that has emerged in the literature over the "economic" and "organizational-political" models of strikes and to propose and test a synthesis of those models as an explanation for the pattern of strike activity in the United States since 1900. The paper begins with a review of strike activity in the post-1900 period and then develops a conceptual framework incorporating six factors--the size of union membership, economic conditions, political events, institutional arrangements, psychological variables, and the extent of rival unionism--to explain this historical pattern. The second part of the paper contains a regression analysis of strike activity over the 1900 - 1977 period. The regression results show that both the economic factors of unemployment and inflation and various noneconomic factors, such as changes in union membership, the outbreak of World War II, and enactment of New Deal legislation, are significant in explaining variations in strike activity during the period studied. The results also show that economic and noneconomic factors have worked together to cause a marked reduction in the variation in strike activity in the post-1948 period.


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