• E24;
  • J5;
  • J64
  • Cross-country data;
  • industrial relations quality;
  • labor market institutions;
  • strikes;
  • unemployment

Abstract. Recent US microeconomic analysis indicates that good industrial relations might improve firm performance. Of late, it has also been claimed that the benefits of industrial relations quality – proxied inversely by a strikes variable – could also extend to the macroeconomy. Using cross-country data, we find that, independent of other labor market institutions, a lower strike volume is associated with lower unemployment. Although there is a separate line of causation running from unemployment to strikes, our analysis suggests that this is not dominant. That said, support for the notion that macro performance owes something to good industrial relations is, however, weakened once we formally control for strike endogeneity.