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Delayed and differential effects of the economic crisis in Sweden in the 1990s on health-related exclusion from the labour market: A health equity assessment


  • Burström, B.
  • Nylén, L.
  • Barr, B.
  • Clayton, S.
  • Holland, P.
  • Whitehead, M.


Many OECD countries are currently experiencing economic crisis and introducing counter-measures with unknown effects. To learn from previous experience, we explored whether there were delayed or differential effects of the Swedish recession in the 1990s and the government's response to it for people with limiting longstanding illness or disability (LLSI) from different socioeconomic groups (SEGs), by policy analysis and secondary data analysis of the Swedish Survey of Living Conditions (ULF) from 1978 to 2005. The government policy response involved cutting public expenditure, privatising some services and measures to boost private sector employment. There was a decline in overall employment rates from the early 1990s, particularly among men and women with LLSI and in lower SEGs. Public sector employment declined from 53 to 40 percent among women and from 23 to 14 percent among men. Private sector employment increased modestly for women (from 31 percent to 37 percent), and stayed stable at 59–60 percent among men. Following economic recovery, employment rates continued to decline among men and women with LLSI from manual SEGs, while the employment levels increased among most healthy men and women. There was a concomitant increase in rates of LLSI, sickness absence and rates of disability pension particularly among women in lower SEGs.

Suggested Citation

  • Burström, B. & Nylén, L. & Barr, B. & Clayton, S. & Holland, P. & Whitehead, M., 2012. "Delayed and differential effects of the economic crisis in Sweden in the 1990s on health-related exclusion from the labour market: A health equity assessment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2431-2436.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:12:p:2431-2436
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.09.022

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fritzell, Sara & Ringbäck Weitoft, Gunilla & Fritzell, Johan & Burström, Bo, 2007. "From macro to micro: The health of Swedish lone mothers during changing economic and social circumstances," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(12), pages 2474-2488, December.
    2. Eikemo, Terje Andreas & Bambra, Clare & Judge, Ken & Ringdal, Kristen, 2008. "Welfare state regimes and differences in self-perceived health in Europe: A multilevel analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(11), pages 2281-2295, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Murcia López, Guillermo & Delclós Clanchet, Jordi & Ubalde López, Mònica & Calvo Bonacho, Eva & Benavides, Fernando G., 2016. "Has the Spanish economic crisis affected the duration of sickness absence episodes?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 29-34.
    2. Aaviksoo, Evelyn & Kiivet, Raul Allan, 2016. "Influence of the sickness benefit reform on sickness absence," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(9), pages 1070-1078.
    3. repec:eee:socmed:v:187:y:2017:i:c:p:134-143 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Aittomäki, Akseli & Martikainen, Pekka & Rahkonen, Ossi & Lahelma, Eero, 2014. "Household income and health problems during a period of labour-market change and widening income inequalities – A study among the Finnish population between 1987 and 2007," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 84-92.
    5. Michael Wiberg & Staffan Marklund & Kristina Alexanderson, 2017. "Transitions Between Compensated Work Disability, Joblessness, and Self-Sufficiency: A Cohort Study 1997–2010 of Those Jobless in 1995," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 36(1), pages 85-107, February.


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