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Travelling Along the Third Way. A Swedish Model of Stabilisation, Equity and Growth

The Swedish economic policy to combine full employment and equity with price stability and economic growth was developed by two trade union economists shortly after World War II. Through the use of extensive employment policy measures, a tight fiscal policy and a wage policy of solidarity, the Rehn-Meidner model represents a unique third way between Keynesianism and monetarism. This essay analyses the application and performance of the Rehn-Meidner model in Sweden. Although never consistently applied, it is possible to distinguish a golden age for the model from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. In the 1970s and the 1980s, governments abandoned the restrictive macroeconomic means of the model and were thus unable to combine low rates of unemployment with low inflation and high economic growth. Since the early 1990s, Sweden has not met the requirement of full employment in the Rehn-Meidner model. Recent declarations by the EU to prioritise full employment once again but without giving up the objectives of price stability and growth legitimise a renewed interest in the model.

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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2005:10.

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Length: 82 pages
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2005_0010
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
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Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
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  1. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: US Economic Growth in the Information Age," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 261, OECD Publishing.
  2. Calmfors, Lars, 1993. "Lessons from the macroeconomic experience of Sweden," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 25-72, March.
  3. Lars Calmfors & Anders Forslund & Maria Hemström, 2002. "Does Active Labour Market Policy Work? Lessons from the Swedish Experiences," CESifo Working Paper Series 675, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Hibbs, Douglas Jr. & Locking, Hakan, 1996. "Wage compression, wage drift and wage inflation in Sweden," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 109-141, September.
  5. Bjorklund, Anders & Kjellstrom, Christian, 2002. "Estimating the return to investments in education: how useful is the standard Mincer equation?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 195-210, June.
  6. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 1997. "Industrial Policy, Employer Size, and Economic Performance in Sweden," NBER Chapters, in: The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model, pages 353-398 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. David G. Blanchflower, 2004. "Self-Employment: More may not be better," NBER Working Papers 10286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Arai, Mahmood, 1994. " An Empirical Analysis of Wage Dispersion and Efficiency Wages," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(1), pages 31-50.
  9. Holmlund, Bertil, 2003. "The Rise and Fall of Swedish Unemployment," Working Paper Series 2003:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
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