I explore whether and how strike activity spreads across organizations using modern Canadian work stoppages data. Building on literature in both economics and sociology, I refine the theoretical basis of how strikes spread. With respect to the learning channel, asymmetric information is proposed to generate strike spread among socially connected and geographically close unions. With respect to the interdependence channel, I differentiate two cases: one giving rise to free-riding behavior among unions in terms of strike activity (a cooperation problem), and the other characterized by potential gains to collective strike actions across unions (a coordination problem). The empirical findings suggest modest spread among geographically close unions and lower spread over strike issues that are expected to be prone to free riding.
Shannon Potter is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources. After earning her MA in Economics at UBC’s Vancouver School of Economics, she gained hands-on experience in the labour movement both as an active rank-and-file member and in various leadership roles. This spurred her research interests in the internal structure of the Canadian labour movement, especially in the areas of internal democracy and the role of cross-union coalition building. Her dissertation research focuses on the role of inter-union competition and on the cross-union dynamics of strike activity. In a separate research agenda, Shannon is also interested in the tension women face between pursuing a career and having a family, which she explores via studies on the gender earnings gap and the drop in earnings women experience after the birth of a child (i.e. the “motherhood penalty”).
Our CIRHR Work-In-Progress Seminar series allows members of our community to discuss early-stage research. Future guest speakers include:
Does firm growth drive out discrimination?
October 18, Santiago Campero, CIRHR Assistant Professor
The Cost of Salary Negotiation: An Experimental Evaluation with Job Seekers in Thailand
October 25, Taeho Kim, CIRHR Assistant Professor
Irish pork and the Great Famine
November 1, Padraic Scanlan, CIRHR Associate Professor
November 29, Alejandra González Jiménez, CIRHR Assistant Professor