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  • The Reign of the Market

The Reign of the Market

Economy and Industrial Conflicts in Hong Kong

Stephen Chiu

English , 1992/01 HKIAPS, Occasional Paper Series Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, CUHK

Tags: Hong Kong Studies

215 x 140 mm , 45pp ISBN / ISSN : 978-962-441-016-7

  • US$3.00

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The Reign of the Market: Economy and Industrial Conflicts in Hong Kong Making use of a unique near-textbook case of market society, this paper has attempted to test various hypotheses pertaining to the relationship between market and strikes. With extremely low level of institutionalization of industry relations as in Hong Kong, workers' strike activity is highly dependent on their changing market position. Buoyant labor market, rising real wages, and brisk product demands augment the bargaining power of labor vis-a-vis the management, remove psychological barriers to protest, and increase the strategic appeal of strikes. Conversely, slackening economic growth, decline in employer propensity to invest, stagnant real wage growth, and low job security foster passivity and tilt the balance of power towards the capital. In general, propositions derived from the collective action perspectives performed well in explaining both the short-run variations and secular trends in strike activity. Theories stressing the incidence of psychological stress, however, are found to be complementary to the collective action perspectives in the short-run, when price inflation is likely to induce strikes.

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