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Public Employment, Taxes, and the Welfare State in Sweden

In: The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model

  • Sherwin Rosen

All employment growth in Sweden since the early 1960's is attributable to labor market entry of women, working in local public sector jobs that implement the Welfare State. Sweden has 'monetized' or 'nationalized' the family. Women are paid at public expense to provide household services for other families. Subsidizing purchased household services encourages labor force participation of women through substitution of market- for self-provided services. It also reduces the marginal cost prices of household goods and encourages substitution of household goods for material goods. A kind of social cross-hauling occurs: when subsidies are increased and taxes raised to finance them, production of material goods declines and production of household goods increases. Women enter the market and work more in each other's households and less in the material goods sector. Efficiency distortions of current child policies in Sweden may be as large as half of total expenditures on childcare. The current 90% subsidies to public childcare probably involve large deadweight losses. A one percent decline in the rate of subsidy accompanied by balanced budget tax decreases would reduce the deadweight losses of tax distortions by one percent, at current policy levels.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Richard B. Freeman & Robert Topel & Birgitta Swedenborg, 1997. "The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free97-1, December.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 6520.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6520
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Reuben Gronau, 1976. "Leisure, Home Production and Work--The Theory of The Allocation of Time Revisited," NBER Working Papers 0137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bergstrom, Ted & Blomquist, Soren, 1996. "The political economy of subsidized day care," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 443-457, November.
    3. Ted Bergstrom & Soren Blomquist, 1994. "Political Economy of Subsidized Day Care," Public Economics 9401001, EconWPA.
    4. N. S. Blomquist & U. Hansson-Brusewitz, 1990. "The Effect of Taxes on Male and Female Labor Supply in Sweden," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 317-357.
    5. Sandmo, Agnar, 1990. "Tax Distortions and Household Production," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 78-90, January.
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