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The Role of Economists in Liberalizing Swedish Agriculture


  • Henrik Lindberg


I examine the process that led to major reforms in agriculture in Sweden, culminating in 1990. Economists were largely responsible for putting the issue on the agenda. Using a public choice perspective, they reformulated the debate. Who benefited, who paid, and what were the true costs? The reformulation illuminated an “iron triangle†—farmers and their interest organizations, politicians, and the bureaucracy. When the new policy coalition gained the initiative, connections and support from the Ministry of Finance were critical, and led to a new will reaching the Prime Minister and finally into the bureaucracy itself, the Ministry of Agriculture. Economists and others overcame the iron triangle. Enlightened discourse played no small role in overcoming resistance.

Suggested Citation

  • Henrik Lindberg, 2007. "The Role of Economists in Liberalizing Swedish Agriculture," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 4(2), pages 213-229, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:4:y:2007:i:2:p:213-229

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. F.G. Scrimgeour & E.C. Pasour, 1996. "A Public Choice Perspective on Agricultural Policy Reform: Implications of the New Zealand Experience," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(2), pages 257-267.
    2. David R. Henderson, 2005. "The Role of Economists in Ending the Draft," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 2(2), pages 362-376, August.
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    More about this item


    Agriculture; policy reform; Sweden; policy coalition; idea; carriers; Public Choice; economists; iron triangle; liberalization;

    JEL classification:

    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy


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