Arbetsrapport, Institutet för Framtidsstudier - Institute for Futures Studies
Social Democracy Lost - The Social Democratic Party in Sweden and the Politics of Pension Reform, 1978-1998
Abstract: In this paper, the latter-day Swedish pension reform of
the 1990s is studied from a power-political perspective focusing on the
involvement of the Social Democratic Party.
Few episodes in the history
of Swedish social democracy have been as widely celebrated as the struggles
of the 1950s over the development of the pension system. The debates
strengthened the collective affiliations of those involved and eased the
task of explaining to voters how the political parties differed from one
another at a time when social welfare was beginning to be viewed as
political public property.
In perspective, and as much research
indicates, the institutional design of the Swedish pension system in terms
of the so-called "income security principle" was to have far-reaching
power-strategic consequences. By limiting the scope for insurance
alternatives offered by the financial markets, and by guaranteeing the
living standard of a broader stratum of wage earners, it contributed to the
middle class's integration into the emerging welfare state. In addition, it
strengthened the Social Democratic Party's standing with its electoral
base, thereby helping to ensure the party's its long-term incumbency.
Despite the heritage, a broad consensus of the social democrat submitted to
the Swedish Parliament in 1994 guidelines for a pension system reformed in
a different direction.
Keywords: pension reform; Social Democratic Party; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: J26; (follow links to similar papers)
44 pages, January 2005
ISSN 1652-120X ISBN 91-89655-59-1
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