Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Arbetsrapport,
Institute for Futures Studies

No 2005:18: Stability or change in the Swedish Labour Market Regime?

Jonas Olofsson
Additional contact information
Jonas Olofsson: Uppsala University, Postal: Ekonomikum , Box 513 , SE-751 20 UPPSALA , Sweden

Abstract: From the late 1970s to the early 1990s Sweden diverted from the rest of Western Europe. The employment rate was high and unemployment was kept very low. But in the early 1990s unemployment started to rise also in Sweden. In this paper the worsened situation for low educated in general, and youth in particular, are related to two institutional factors: a changed organisation of vocational education in upper secondary schooling and changes in labour market policy, where changes in vocational education is understood as a cause and changes in labour market policy as an effect of rising obstacles for low educated. Of course, there are several other factors that have to be considered in order to get the full picture, but reforms in the upper secondary school system as well as in labour market policy are of great interest as they can be apprehended as parts of broader changes in the traditional Swedish labour market model. Studies of changes in the Swedish model can also be seen as part of a wider research interest concerning the effectiveness of competing institutional models of capitalism. It’s argued that changes in schooling are an important factor behind increasing social marginalisation and income dispersion. The focus is primarily on the ages between 20 and 24. Changes in upper secondary schooling are also valued in connection to the supply of youth measures connected to labour market policy. Since the beginning of the 1990s, there has been a huge increase of participants in programs directed to youth. This is a direct effect of rising unemployment and increasing troubles for those with unfinished upper secondary education. But it’s also possible to trace changes in labour market policy to broader institutional transformations in the Swedish labour market model. These changes will first and foremost be analysed as an expression of stronger segmentation forces.

Keywords: Swedish Labour Market; low educated; young adults

JEL-codes: J21; J23; J24; J62

30 pages, December 12, 2005

Price: 25 SEK

Note: ISSN 1652-120X ISBN 13:978-91-89655-76-8 ISBN 10: 91-89655-76-1

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