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Best in Class: Public Finances in Sweden during the Financial Crisis

  • Michael Bergman

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

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    This paper studies why public finances in Sweden have remained very strong during the current financial crisis. Unlike almost all other European countries, Sweden has had budget surpluses and a government debt ratio around 40 percent of GDP during the recent crisis. We attribute this to two important factors. First, Sweden entered the crisis with strong public finances and second that unemployment did not rise as much as normally during recessions. The Swedish fiscal framework that was introduced after the banking crisis in the early 1990s with expenditure ceilings, a top-down budget process, balanced budget requirement for local governments has played an important role. We show that the behavior of budget deficits has changed significantly recently, from a deficit bias to a surplus bias. Aggregate demand remained strong during the crisis even though exports fell sharply. As unemployment in the manufacturing sector increased, it was to a large extent offset by increased employment in the service sector.

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    File URL: http://www.panoeconomicus.rs/casopis/2011_4/01%20Michael%20Bergman.pdf
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    Article provided by Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia in its journal Panoeconomicus.

    Volume (Year): 58 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 431-453

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    Handle: RePEc:voj:journl:v:58:y:2011:i:3:p:431-453
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.panoeconomicus.rs/

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    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1676-1706, August.
    2. Xavier Debrun & Laurent Moulin & Alessandro Turrini & Joaquim Ayuso-i-Casals & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2008. "Tied to the mast? National fiscal rules in the European Union," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 297-362, 04.
    3. Lars Calmfors & Simon Wren‐Lewis, 2011. "What should fiscal councils do?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 26(68), pages 649-695, October.
    4. Afonso, António & Hauptmeier, Sebastian, 2009. "Fiscal behaviour in the European Union: rules, fiscal decentralization and government indebtedness," Working Paper Series 1054, European Central Bank.
    5. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Is the 2007 U.S. Sub-Prime Financial Crisis So Different? An International Historical Comparison," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 56(3), pages 291-299, September.
    6. Simon Wren-Lewis & Lars Calmfors, 2011. "What should fiscal councils do?," Economics Series Working Papers 537, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    7. Englund, Peter, 1999. "The Swedish Banking Crisis: Roots and Consequences," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 80-97, Autumn.
    8. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
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