The Role of Cross-Class Alliances and Elites in Coordinated Employment Relations in Denmark

Christoph Ellersgaard, Christian Lyhne Ibsen, Anton Grau Larsen

Publikation: Working paperForskning


Explanations for coordination between labor and capital in Northern Europe continue to cause debate among scholars of comparative political economy. On one hand, power resource scholars argue that strong trade unions promoting equality are necessary for coordination. On the other hand, employer-centered theories argue that employers are the primary actors in promoting coordination due to the comparative advantages stemming from coordination. To inform this debate, we study the case of Denmark by combining a unique database of 5.000 elite affiliations with 80 stakeholder interviews spanning a decade. We argue that trade union power resources are necessary for coordination. However, only when certain segments of labor can forge powerful alliances with key employers for the economy will coordination persist. The network analysis identifies a powerful cross-class alliance between trade unions and employer associations in manufacturing. Interviews with stakeholders show that coordination in industrial relations and related institutional spheres such as education and industrial policies serves this alliance’s interests in safeguarding international competitiveness of manufacturing. However, intra-class allegiances ensure that the alliance constantly has to consider the interests of outsider organizations.
UdgivelsesstedCambridge, MA
UdgiverCenter for European Studies at Harvard University
Antal sider35
StatusUdgivet - 4 sep. 2018
NavnCES Open Forum Series