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

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Erixon, Lennart, 2005. "Travelling Along the Third Way. A Swedish Model of Stabilisation, Equity and Growth," Research Papers in Economics 2005:10, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2005_0010
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    1. 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.
    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. Arai, Mahmood, 1994. " An Empirical Analysis of Wage Dispersion and Efficiency Wages," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(1), pages 31-50.
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    5. 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.
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    7. David G. Blanchflower, 2004. "Self-Employment: More may not be better," NBER Working Papers 10286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 125-236.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vincent Touzé, 2007. "Les performances économiques de la Suède. Quelques éléments d'évaluation," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 100(1), pages 31-84.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Swedish model; Rehn-Meidner model; third way; labour market policy; solidarity wage policy; productivity growth; fiscal policy; unemployment; inflation;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development

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