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Positional Power, Strikes and Wages

Luca Perrone, Erik Olin Wright and Larry J. Griffin
American Sociological Review
Vol. 49, No. 3 (Jun., 1984), pp. 412-426
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095284
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Positional Power, Strikes and Wages
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Abstract

Research on strikes has suffered from the lack of convincing measures of power which are operationally independent of the behaviors and outcomes such power is meant to explain. In particular, many discussions of strike behavior discuss the disruptive potential of strikes for the economy as a whole as an important structural basis of power, but such disruptive potential remains unmeasured. This paper proposes a strategy for measuring such disruptive potential using Leontief input-output matrices of intersectoral flows of commodities. The measure essentially taps the extent to which the cessation of production in one sector remains a purely local event or has ramifications throughout the economic structure. The empirical analysis of the paper then uses this measure to predict two outcomes: intersectoral wage differentials, and intersectoral strike behavior. The core results indicate that the measure of structural power predicts intersectoral wage differences extremely well but does not account for differences in strike propensities. The implications of these findings are then discussed in terms of the general problem of understanding the interconnections between power, strike behavior and wages.

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