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Where Schumpeter was Nearly Right - The Swedish Model and Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy

  • Henrekson, Magnus


    (Department of Economics)

  • Jakobsson, Ulf


    (The Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

In Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy Joseph A. Schumpeter concluded that socialism would eventually displace capitalism in Western democracies. This would come about as a result of the superior performance of capitalism. We extract six "stylized" propositions that are essential elements of Schumpeter's prediction about the fate of capitalism. These propositions are confronted with the development of the Swedish economy. The three main results of the analysis are: (1) The evolution of the Swedish economy closely followed Shumpeter's predictions until about 1980: Large firms became increasingly predominant in production and innovative activity, ownership of firms became more and more concentrated, individual entrepreneurship waned in importance, the general public grew increasingly hostile towards capitalism, and by the late 1970s explicit proposals for a gradual transfer of ownership of firms from private hands were launched. (2) Design of tax and industrial policies fueled a development of the economy along the lines predicted by Schumpeter. In general, the policies discouraged private wealth accumulation. In particular, the policies favored concentration of firms and concentration of private ownership. (3) The turning point away from the path to socialism coincides with real world developments that disclosed two major flaws in Schumpeter´s analysis. First, the ever more obvious failure of socialism in Eastern Europe went against Schumpeter's assertion that socialism can work. Second, Schumpeter, who thought that modern technology would make the giant corporation increasingly predominant, did not foresee the revival of entrepreneurship that took place in the Western countries around 1980.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 533.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 03 Apr 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 2001, pages 331-358.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0533
Contact details of provider: Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 665 4500
Fax: +46 8 665 4599
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  1. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 1995. "Industrial Policy, Employer Size, and Economic Performance in Sweden," NBER Working Papers 5237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Henrekson, Magnus, 1996. "Sweden's Relative Economic Performance: Lagging Behind or Staying on Top?," Working Paper Series 460, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  3. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey Rosen, 1993. "Sticking It Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," Working Papers 698, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A., 1991. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Economics Series Working Papers 99125, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. 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.
  6. Mervyn A. King & Don Fullerton, 1984. "West Germany," NBER Chapters, in: The Taxation of Income from Capital: A Comparative Study of the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Germany, pages 149-192 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Henrekson, Magnus & Johansson, Dan, 1999. " Institutional Effects on the Evolution of the Size Distribution of Firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 11-23, February.
  8. Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1998. "Self-Employment and Wealth Inequality," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(1), pages 25-42, March.
  9. Blau, David M, 1987. "A Time-Series Analysis of Self-employment in the United State," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 445-67, June.
  10. Stefan Fölster & Sam Peltzman, 1993. "The Social Costs of Regulation and Lack of Competition in Sweden," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 91, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  11. 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.
  12. Wennekers, Sander & Thurik, Roy, 1999. " Linking Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 27-55, August.
  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. Jorgenson, D.W., 1992. "Tax Reform and the Cost of Capital : An International Comparison," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1621, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  15. 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.
  16. Zoltan Acs & David Audretsch, 1990. "Innovation and Small Firms," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011131, June.
  17. Assar Lindbeck, 1997. "The Swedish Experiment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1273-1319, September.
  18. Granstrand, O & Alange, S, 1995. "The Evolution of Corporate Entrepreneurship in Swedish Industry--Was Schumpeter Wrong?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 133-56, June.
  19. Van Praag, C Mirjam & Van Ophem, Hans, 1995. "Determinants of Willingness and Opportunity to Start as an Entrepreneur," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 513-40.
  20. Dahlstrand, Asa Lindholm, 1997. "Growth and inventiveness in technology-based spin-off firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 331-344, October.
  21. 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.
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