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

Author

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  • Henrekson, Magnus

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Jakobsson, Ulf

    () (Research Institute of Industrial Economics, IUI)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Henrekson, Magnus & Jakobsson, Ulf, 2001. "The Transformation of Ownership Policy and Structure in Sweden: Convergence towards the Anglo-Saxon Model?," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 469, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 19 Sep 2002.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0469
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Henrekson, Magnus & Jakobsson, Ulf, 2011. "The Swedish Corporate Control Model: Convergence, Persistence or Decline?," Working Paper Series 857, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    2. Nilsson Hakkala, Katariina & Bertrand, Olivier & Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars, 2008. "Should RD Champions be Protected from Foreign Takeovers?," Discussion Papers 459, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Niklas Egels-Zandén & Peter Hyllman, 2007. "Evaluating Strategies for Negotiating Workers’ Rights in Transnational Corporations: The Effects of Codes of Conduct and Global Agreements on Workplace Democracy," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 76(2), pages 207-223, December.
    4. Fogel, Kathy S. & Lee, Kevin K. & Lee, Wayne Y. & Palmberg, Johanna, 2013. "Foreign Investors as Change Agents: The Swedish Firm Experience," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 311, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    5. Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars & Vlachos, Jonas, 2006. "Cross-Border Acquisitions and Corporate Taxes: Efficiency and Tax Revenues," Working Paper Series 663, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    6. Karin Jonnergård & Anna Stafsudd, 2011. "The making of active boards in Swedish public companies," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 15(1), pages 123-155, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corporatism; Entrepreneurship; Industrial policy; Ownership policy; Ownership structure; Swedish Model;

    JEL classification:

    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • N24 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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