IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Economic Perfomance and Market Work Activity in Sweden after the Crisis of the Early 1990s

  • Davis, Steven J.


    (The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business)

  • Henrekson, Magnus


    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

Following a severe contraction in the early 1990s, the Swedish economy accumulated a strong record of output growth coupled with a disappointing performance in the labor market. As of 2005, hours worked per person 20–64 years of age are 10.5 percent below the 1990 peak and a mere one percent above the 1993 trough. Employment rates tell a similar story. Our explanation for Sweden’s weak performance with respect to market work activity highlights the role of high tax rates on labor income and consumption expenditures, wage-setting arrangements that compress relative wages, business tax policies that disfavor labor-intensive industries and technologies, and a variety of policies and institutional arrangements that disadvantage younger and smaller businesses. This last category includes tax policies that penalize wealth accumulation in the form of owner-operated businesses, a pension system that steers equity capital and loanable funds to large incumbent corporations, and legally mandated job-security provisions that weigh more heavily on smaller and younger businesses. We describe these features of the Swedish institutional setup and provide evidence of their consequences based largely on international comparisons.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 687.

in new window

Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: 03 Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Reforming the Welfare State: Recovery and Beyond in Sweden, Freeman, Richard M., Swedenborg, Birgitta, Topel, Robert (eds.), 2010, chapter 7, pages 225-252, University of Chicago Press.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0687
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
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. Henrekson, Magnus & Rosenberg, Nathan, 2001. " Designing Efficient Institutions for Science-Based Entrepreneurship: Lessons from the US and Sweden," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 207-31, June.
  3. Perman, Roger & Scouller, John, 1999. "Business Economics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198775249.
  4. Sherwin Rosen, 1996. "Public Employment and the Welfare State in Sweden," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 729-740, June.
  5. Agell, Jonas & Persson, Mats, 2000. "Tax arbitrage and labor supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 3-24, October.
  6. Thomas Hellmann & Manju Puri, 2002. "Venture Capital and the Professionalization of Start-Up Firms: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 169-197, 02.
  7. 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..
  8. Conny Olovsson, 2004. "Why do Europeans Work so Little?," 2004 Meeting Papers 760, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2006. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded versus Privately Held Firms," NBER Working Papers 12354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
  11. Thierry Lallemand & Robert Plasman & François Rycx, 2007. "The establishment-size wage premium: evidence from European countries," Empirica, Springer, vol. 34(5), pages 427-451, December.
  12. Laura Bottazzi & Marco da Rin, 2003. "Financing Entrepreneurial Firms in Europe: Facts, Issues, and Research Agenda," CESifo Working Paper Series 958, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Davis, Steven J & Henrekson, Magnus, 1999. " Explaining National Differences in the Size and Industry Distribution of Employment," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 59-83, February.
  14. 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.
  15. Taylor, Mark P, 2001. "Self-Employment and Windfall Gains in Britain: Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(272), pages 539-65, November.
  16. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1995. "Employer Size and The Wage Structure in U.S. Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 5393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Richard B. Freeman & Robert Topel & Birgitta Swedenborg, 1997. "The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free97-1, July.
  18. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2005. "Marketization of household production and the EU–US gap in work," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(41), pages 6-50, 01.
  19. Albaek, Karsten & Arai, Mahmood & Asplund, Rita & Barth, Erling & Strojer Madsen, Erik, 1998. "Measuring wage effects of plant size," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 425-448, December.
  20. Juster, F Thomas & Stafford, Frank P, 1991. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioral Models, and Problems of Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 471-522, June.
  21. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring trends in leisure: the allocation of time over five decades," Working Papers 06-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  22. Filip Palda, 1998. "Evasive Ability and the Efficiency Cost of the Underground Economy," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(5), pages 1118-1138, November.
  23. Peter Fredriksson & Robert H. Topel, 2010. "Wage Determination and Employment in Sweden Since the Early 1990s: Wage Formation in a New Setting," NBER Chapters, in: Reforming the Welfare State: Recovery and Beyond in Sweden, pages 83-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Lindbeck, Assar, 1982. "Tax Effects versus Budget Effects on Labor Supply," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(4), pages 473-89, October.
  25. Richard B. Freeman & Robert Topel & Birgitta Swedenborg, 1997. "Introduction to "The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model"," NBER Chapters, in: The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model, pages 1-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Lindbeck, Assar & Palme, Mårten & Persson, Mats, 2006. "Job Security and Work Absence: Evidence form a Natural Experiment," Seminar Papers 743, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  27. Magnus Henrekson, 2001. "Swedish Economic Growth A Favorable View of Reform," Challenge, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 44(4), pages 38-58, July.
  28. Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Understanding Differences in Hours Worked," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(3), pages 365-409, July.
  29. Strand, Jon, 2005. "Tax distortions, household production, and black-market work," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 851-871, December.
  30. 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.
  31. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521590730 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1998. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 26-60, January.
  33. Agell, Jonas & Persson, Mats & Sacklen, Hans, 2004. "The effects of tax reform on labor supply, tax revenue and welfare when tax avoidance matters," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 963-982, November.
  34. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
  35. Mervyn A. King & Don Fullerton, 1984. "The Taxation of Income from Capital: A Comparative Study of the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Germany," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number king84-1, July.
  36. Rodrik, Dani & Subramanian, Arvind & Trebbi, Francesco, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 3643, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  37. Therry Lallemand & François Rycx, 2006. "Establishment Size and the Dipsersion of Wages: Evidence from european Countries," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 52(4), pages 309-336.
  38. 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.
  39. Assar Lindbeck, 1997. "The Swedish Experiment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1273-1319, September.
  40. 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.
  41. Cressy, Robert & Olofsson, Christer, 1997. " The Financial Conditions for Swedish SMEs: Survey and Research Agenda," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 179-94, April.
  42. 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.
  43. Martin Feldstein, 2006. "The Effect of Taxes on Efficiency and Growth," NBER Working Papers 12201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. Svensson, Roger, 2006. "Innovation Performance and Government Financing," Working Paper Series 664, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 30 Sep 2006.
  45. Lundborg, Per, 2005. "Individual Wage Setting, Efficiency Wages and Productivity in Sweden," Working Paper Series 205, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
  46. Per-Anders Edin & Robert Topel, 1997. "Wage Policy and Restructuring: The Swedish Labor Market since 1960," NBER Chapters, in: The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model, pages 155-202 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0687. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Elisabeth Gustafsson)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.