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Over the course of the twentieth century, Sweden carried out one of the most ambitious experiments by a capitalist market economy in developing a large and active welfare state. Sweden's generous social programs and the economic equality they fostered became an example for other countries to emulate. Of late, Sweden has also been much discussed as a model of how to deal with financial and economic crisis, due to the country's recovery from a banking crisis in the mid-1990s. At that time economists heatedly debated whether the welfare state caused Sweden's crisis and should be reformed—a debate with clear parallels to current concerns over capitalism.
Bringing together leading economists, Reforming the Welfare State examines Sweden's policies in response to the mid-1990s crisis and the implications for the subsequent recovery. Among the issues investigated are the way changes in the labor market, tax and benefit policies, local government policy, industrial structure, and international trade affected Sweden's recovery. The way that Sweden addressed its economic challenges provides valuable insight into the viability of large welfare states, and more broadly, into the way modern economies deal with crisis.
Richard B. Freeman, Birgitta Swedenborg, and Robert Topel
1. Searching for Optimal Inequality / Incentives
Anders Björklund and Richard B. Freeman
2. Policies Affecting Work Patterns and Labor Income for Women
Ann-Sofi e Kolm and Edward P. Lazear
3. Wage Determination and Employment in Sweden Since the Early 1990s: Wage Formation in a New Setting
Peter Fredriksson and Robert Topel
4. Labor Supply, Tax Base, and Public Policy in Sweden
Thomas Aronsson and James R. Walker
5. Did Active Labor Market Policies Help Sweden Rebound from the Depression of the Early 1990s?
Anders Forslund and Alan Krueger
6. How Sweden’s Unemployment Became More Like Europe’s
Lars Ljungqvist and Thomas J. Sargent
7. Economic Performance and Market Work Activity
in Sweden after the Crisis of the Early 1990s
Steven J. Davis and Magnus Henrekson
8. Competition, Regulation, and the Role of Local
Government Policies in Swedish Markets
Stefan Fölster and Sam Peltzman
9. What Have Changes to the Global Markets for Goods and Services Done to the Viability of the Swedish Welfare State?
Edward E. Leamer