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Coping with Regional Inequality in Sweden: Structural Change, Migrations and Policy, 1860-2000

Author

Listed:
  • Kerstin Enflo

    () (Lund University School of Economics and Management)

  • Joan Ramón Rosés

    () (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

Abstract

In many countries, regional income inequality has followed an inverted U-shaped curve, growing during industrialisation and market integration and declining thereafter. By contrast, Sweden’s regional inequality dropped from 1860 to 1980 and did not show this U-shaped pattern. Accordingly, today’s regional income inequality in Sweden is lower than in other European countries. We note that the prime mover behind the long-run reduction in regional income differentials was structural change, whereas neo-classical and technological forces played a relatively less important role. However, this process of regional income convergence can be divided into two major periods. During the first period (1860-1940), the unrestricted action of market forces, particularly the expansion of markets and high rates of internal and international migrations, led to the compression of regional income differentials. In the subsequent period (1940-2000), the intended intervention of successive governments appears to have also been important for the evolution of regional income inequality. Regional convergence was intense from 1940 to 1980. In this period, governments aided the convergence in productivity among industries and the reallocation of the workforce from the declining to the thriving regions and economic sectors. During the next period (1980-2000), when regional incomes diverged, governments subsidised firms and people in the declining areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Kerstin Enflo & Joan Ramón Rosés, 2012. "Coping with Regional Inequality in Sweden: Structural Change, Migrations and Policy, 1860-2000," Working Papers 0029, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0029
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gluschenko, Konstantin, 2015. "‘Williamson’s Fallacy’ in Estimation of Inter-Regional Inequality," MPRA Paper 71075, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 03 May 2016.
    2. José Aguilar-Retureta, 2015. "Regional income distribution in Mexico: new long-term evidence, 1895-2010," UB Economics Working Papers 2015/323, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.
    3. Enflo, Kerstin, 2014. "Finland’s regional GDPs 1880-2010: estimates, sources and interpretations," Lund Papers in Economic History 135, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    4. José Aguilar Retureta, 2016. "Explaining regional inequality from the periphery: The mexican case, 1900-2000," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1608, Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica.
    5. Enflo, Kerstin & Missiaia, Anna, 2017. "Between Malthus and the industrial take-off: regional inequality in Sweden, 1571-1850," Lund Papers in Economic History 168, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    6. repec:eee:exehis:v:67:y:2018:i:c:p:62-79 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Modalsli, Jørgen, 2018. "The regional dispersion of income inequality in nineteenth-century Norway," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 62-79.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Convergence; regional policy; neo-classical growth model; labour reallocation.;

    JEL classification:

    • N94 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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