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    The electoral effects of general strikes in Western Europe

    Hamann, K. and Johnston, A. and Kelly, John (2016) The electoral effects of general strikes in Western Europe. Comparative Politics 49 (1), pp. 63-82. ISSN 0010-4159.

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    General strikes against unpopular policy reforms have occurred with increasing frequency across Western Europe since 1980. These strikes, in conjunction with governments’ willingness to offer concessions in their wake, raise the question as to whether they have electoral consequences. We analyze how the interaction between general strikes and social spending retrenchment, as well as the interaction between social pacts and social spending retrenchment, influence electoral outcomes for governments for 16 West European countries (EU15 plus Norway) from 1980-2012. We find that electoral losses for incumbents engaging in welfare retrenchment are magnified by a general strike during the electoral cycle, but are mitigated if a social pact is concluded in the same electoral cycle. These magnifying and mitigating effects are greater the closer a general strike or a social pact is to an election. Our results suggest that general strikes, unlike social pacts, serve the important function of blame attribution, as they publically assign the responsibility of retrenchment policies to incumbents.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Centre for British Political Life
    Depositing User: John Kelly
    Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2016 15:22
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:28


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