Journal Article

State-labour relations in East Central Europe: explaining variations in union effectiveness1

Sabina Avdagic

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 3, issue 1, pages 25-53
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/SER/mwh012
State-labour relations in East Central Europe: explaining variations in union effectiveness1

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The article 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. It shows that standard interpretations for such variations—focused on structural legacies, modes of transition, political cycles and institutional differences—cannot account for the problem at hand. Instead, I argue that the sources of these variations are to be attributed to distinct paths of state–labour relations, which are the product of continuous strategic interactions that crucially depend on power dynamics between the main actors. To present a mechanism through which these paths evolve, the article sketches a model of government–union interactions that combines institutional and behavioural variables. I propose a set of hypotheses regarding the conditions that determine initial choice of strategies and factors that influence continuation or modification of these strategies later on. By analysing the cases of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, the article 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 future choice sets for weaker actors.

Keywords: trade unions; tripartite institutions; state-labour relations; power dynamics; strategic interactions; institutional development and change; JEL classification: J5, J51, B52, J38

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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