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

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  • Michael Bergman

    () (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Bergman, 2011. "Best in Class: Public Finances in Sweden during the Financial Crisis," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 58(4), pages 431-453, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:voj:journl:v:58:y:2011:i:3:p:431-453
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    File URL: http://www.panoeconomicus.rs/casopis/2011_4/01%20Michael%20Bergman.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. 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 357-384, March.
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    6. 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, April.
    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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Beetsma, Roel & Giuliodori, Massimo & de Jong, Frank & Widijanto, Daniel, 2013. "Spread the news: The impact of news on the European sovereign bond markets during the crisis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 83-101.
    2. Jonung, Lars, 2014. "The Swedish Experience of Fiscal Reform: Lessons for Portugal," Working Papers 2014:27, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    3. Jonung, Lars, 2014. "Reforming the Fiscal Framework. The Case of Sweden 1973-2013," Working Papers 2014:26, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    4. Taner Turan & Mesut Karakas & Halit Yanikkaya, 2014. "Tax Smoothing Hypothesis: A Turkish Case," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 61(4), pages 487-501, September.
    5. Alexis Stenfors, 2014. "The Swedish Financial System," FESSUD studies fstudy13, Financialisation, Economy, Society & Sustainable Development (FESSUD) Project.
    6. Veronika Å uliková & Marianna SiniÄ Ã¡ková & Denis Horváth, 2014. "Twin Deficits in Small Open Baltic Economies," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 61(2), pages 227-239, March.
    7. Jesús Ferreiro & Carmen Gómez & Felipe Serrano, 2013. "Mistakes in the Fiscal Policy in Spain before the Crisis," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 60(5), pages 577-592, September.
    8. Beetsma, Roel & de Jong, Frank & Giuliodori, Massimo & Widijanto, Daniel, 2012. "Spread the News: How the Crisis Affected the Impact of News on the European Sovereign Bond Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 9043, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Alexis Stenfors, 2014. "Financialisation and the Financial and Economic Crises: The Case of Sweden," FESSUD studies fstudy27, Financialisation, Economy, Society & Sustainable Development (FESSUD) Project.
    10. João Sousa Andrade & António Portugal Duarte, 2014. "Output-gaps in the PIIGS Economies: An Ingredient of a Greek Tragedy," GEMF Working Papers 2014-06, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal policy; Debt; Sustainability; Financial crises; Sweden.;

    JEL classification:

    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes

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