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The Transformation of Ownership Policy and Structure in Sweden: Convergence towards the Anglo-Saxon Model?

  • Henrekson, Magnus

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Jakobsson, Ulf

    ()

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics, IUI)

We investigate the dramatic transformation of ownership policies and ownership structure in Sweden during the postwar period. After WWII, Swedish ownership policies were guided by a socialist vision where the ultimate goal was abolition of private ownership. These policies came to an end in the early 1980s. Since then a large number of Swedish firms have been acquired by foreign owners or merged with foreign firms and the foreign ownership share on the Swedish Stock Exchange has increased rapidly. A central question is whether this fast transformation is merely a logical consequence of current globalization, or whether this tendency has been reinforced by economic policies vis-à-vis the business sector in Sweden. We show that until the late 1980s, Swedish economic policy – aimed at discouraging private wealth accumulation and favoring institutional ownership and debt financing – effectively precipitated the rapid takeover of the Swedish business sector by foreign owners that gained momentum in the 1990s. Policy measures intended to create a system of “capitalism without capitalists” can be said to have “packaged” large Swedish corporations in terms of ownership and financing structure, so that foreign takeover was facilitated. The article ends with a discussion as to whether the dramatic change in ownership structure in the Swedish business sector may result in the demise of the old corporatist model of industrial relations, giving way to a new trend towards a liberal market economy of the current Anglo-Saxon variety.

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Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 469.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 26 Oct 2001
Date of revision: 19 Sep 2002
Publication status: Published in New Political Economy, 2003, pages 73-102.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0469
Contact details of provider: Postal: The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
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  1. Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A., 1991. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Economics Series Working Papers 99125, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Richard B. Freeman, 2000. "Single Peaked Vs. Diversified Capitalism: The Relation Between Economic Institutions and Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 7556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Erik Norrman & Charles E. McLure Jr., 1997. "Tax Policy in Sweden," NBER Chapters, in: The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model, pages 109-154 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Blomström, Magnus & Kokko, Ari, 1996. "Multinational Corporations and Spillovers," CEPR Discussion Papers 1365, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Davidsson, Per & Henrekson, Magnus, 2000. "Determinants of the Prevalence of Start-ups and High-Growth Firms," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 381, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 26 May 2002.
  6. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
  7. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  8. David B. Audretsch & A. Roy Thurik, 2000. "Capitalism and democracy in the 21st Century: from the managed to the entrepreneurial economy," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 17-34.
  9. repec:dgr:uvatin:19990068 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. David B. Audretsch, 1995. "Innovation and Industry Evolution," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011468, June.
  11. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
  12. Dahlquist, Magnus & Robertsson, Goran, 2001. "Direct foreign ownership, institutional investors, and firm characteristics," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 413-440, March.
  13. Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1996. "Self-Employment and Windfall Gains: Evidence from the Swedish Lottery," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(439), pages 1515-26, November.
  14. Henrekson, Magnus & Jakobsson, Ulf, 2001. "Ägarpolitik och ägarstruktur i efterkrigstidens Sverige," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 0438, Stockholm School of Economics.
  15. Roine, Jesper, 1999. "Tax Avoidance, Redistribution and Voting," Research Papers in Economics 2000:1, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
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