The law and labor strife in the United States, 1881-1894

Janet Currie, Joseph Ferrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This article examines the effects of state-level legal innovations governing labor disputes in the late 1800s. This was a period of legal ferment in which worker organizations and employers actively lobbied state governments for changes in the rules governing labor disputes. Cross-state heterogeneity in the legal environment provides an unusual opportunity to investigate the effects of these laws. We use a unique data set with information on 12,965 strikes to show that most of these law changes had surprisingly little effect on strike incidence or outcomes. Important exceptions were maximum hours laws and the use of injunctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-66
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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