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Temporary Work in Turbulent Times: The Swedish Experience

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  • Holmlund, Bertil

    () (Department of Economics)

  • Storrie, Donald

    (CELMS)

Abstract

Sweden has experienced a substantial increase in temporary work over the 1990s, with most of the rise occurring during a severe macroeconomic recession with mass unemployment. By the early 1990s, workers on fixed-term contracts accounted for 10 percent of the number of employees; by the end of the decade they accounted for 16 percent. The paper presents the Swedish institutional setting, documents basic stylised facts about fixed-term contracts, and discusses the causes of their increased prevalence. Our analysis reveals that open-ended and temporary employment exhibit strikingly different cyclical behaviour with temporary employment being more volatile. A recession is associated with an initial decline in temporary employment followed by a sharp rise from the trough to the end of the recession. We argue that the severe recession of the 1990s is a major factor behind the rise in temporary work in Sweden. Adverse macroeconomic conditions make firms more prone to offer fixed-term contracts and workers more willing to accept them.

Suggested Citation

  • Holmlund, Bertil & Storrie, Donald, 2001. "Temporary Work in Turbulent Times: The Swedish Experience," Working Paper Series 2002:1, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2002_001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Burda, Michael & Wyplosz, Charles, 1994. "Gross worker and job flows in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1287-1315, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Temporary jobs; Labour market dynamics; Unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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