Labour disputes are a central analytical category in social sciences. The magnitude of strike activity has always served as an indicator for socio-economic development and particularly for the shape of the relationship between capital and labour. Research, therefore, has usually focused on the long-term development and determinants of strike levels and their trend. Short-term fluctuations and determinants of the cyclical patterns of industrial conflicts have been addressed to a lesser extent. The present study takes up this question for the three predominantly German-speaking countries Austria, Germany, and Switzerland to find out whether labour conflicts exhibit cyclical patterns during the past century and whether those patterns are correlated with fluctuations in the business environment.

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