Accounting for variations in trade union effectiveness: state-labour relations in East Central Europe

Avdagic, Sabina (2003) Accounting for variations in trade union effectiveness: state-labour relations in East Central Europe. Discussion Paper. Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.

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This paper offers an explanation for variations in the effectiveness of trade unions to obtain legislative and policy concessions in peak-level tripartite negotiations in post-communist East Central Europe. I examine the usefulness of some standard interpretations for such variations, namely economic-structural arguments, arguments originating in democratization literature, political cycle arguments, and neo-institutionalist arguments (particularly from the corporatist literature). I argue that none of them offers a fully satisfactory explanation for the problem at hand. Standard explanations mostly offer static accounts which either neglect the importance of key actors strategies or assume that these strategies are predetermined. Instead, I argue that the sources of these variations are to be attributed to distinct paths of state-labor relations which are the product of continuous strategic interactions within the general framework of tripartite institutions. To present a mechanism through which these paths evolve, this paper sketches a model of government-union interactions that combines institutional and behavioral variables. I propose a set of hypotheses with respect to the conditions that determine initial choice of strategies and factors that influence continuation or modification of these strategies later on. The paper further illustrates how these interactions shape tripartite institutions in such a way that they start reflecting accentuated power disparities between the contending actors, thereby limiting the scope of future choices for weaker actors. I demonstrate how the interplay of the proposed variables has shaped distinct paths of state labor relations, and influenced the effectiveness of unions, in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Discussion Paper)
Additional Information:
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Depositing User: Sabina Avdagic
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:47
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2012 12:12
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