Unions Against Governments: Explaining General Strikes in Western Europe, 1980-2006

37 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 22 Aug 2011

See all articles by Kerstin Hamann

Kerstin Hamann

University of Central Florida

John Edward Kelly

University of London - Management

Alison Johnston

London School of Economics and Political Science - European Institute

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Across Western Europe, unions have increasingly engaged in staging general strikes against governments since 1980. This increase in general strikes is puzzling as it has occurred at the same time as economic strikes have been on the decline. We posit that theories developed to explain economic strikes hold little explanatory power in accounting for variation in general strikes across countries and over time. Instead, we develop a framework based on political variables, in particular, whether governments have included or excluded unions in framing policy reforms; the party position of the government; and the type of government. Our empirical analysis, based on a conditional fixed-effects logit estimation of 84 general strikes between 1980 and 2006, shows that union exclusion and the party position of the government can provide an initial explanation for the occurrence of general strikes.

Suggested Citation

Hamann, Kerstin and Kelly, John Edward and Johnston, Alison, Unions Against Governments: Explaining General Strikes in Western Europe, 1980-2006 (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1900035

Kerstin Hamann (Contact Author)

University of Central Florida ( email )

Dept. Of Political Science P.O. Box 161356
Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States
407-823 2608 (Phone)
407-823 0051 (Fax)

John Edward Kelly

University of London - Management ( email )

London, WC1E 7HX
United Kingdom

Alison Johnston

London School of Economics and Political Science - European Institute ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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