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The turnaround of the Swedish economy: lessons from large business sector reforms

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  • Fredrik Heyman
  • Pehr-Johan Norbäck
  • Lars Persson

Abstract

How can a country improve the productivity growth in its business sector and reach its growth potential? Sweden during the 1970–2010 period can serve as an example to help other countries understand how to efficiently reform a business sector. In the 1990s, Sweden implemented a reform package that ignited a successful reorganization of a business sector that had faltered for decades. To understand the economic forces behind this process, we first survey the industrial restructuring literature and then examine the reform package using Swedish matched plant-firm-worker data. The removal of barriers to growth for new and productive firms and increased rewards for investment in human capital were crucial to the success of Sweden’s reforms. We also discuss how the reform experience from a developed country such as Sweden can be useful for developing countries that are in the process of transforming their business sectors. We also discuss evidence from developing countries that have undergone similar micro-based business sector reform programs. Our findings suggest that policymakers have much to learn from country case studies and that the Swedish experience can be a valuable case study for developing countries that are attempting to promote growth by developing their business sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Fredrik Heyman & Pehr-Johan Norbäck & Lars Persson, 2019. "The turnaround of the Swedish economy: lessons from large business sector reforms," CESifo Working Paper Series 7627, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7627
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    1. Heyman, Fredrik & Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars & Andersson, Fredrik, 2019. "Has the Swedish business sector become more entrepreneurial than the US business sector?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(7), pages 1809-1822.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    regulations; allocative efficiency; productivity; job dynamics; matched employer-employee data; industrial structure and structural change;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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