Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Institute for Futures Studies

No 2011:3: Humanisterna och den svenska arbetsmarknaden

Julia Boguslaw () and Eskil Wadensjö ()
Additional contact information
Julia Boguslaw: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Institute for Futures Studies, Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden
Eskil Wadensjö: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Institute for Futures Studies, Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: The number of people who have degrees in humanities in Sweden rose markedly during the last decade both among those with PhD’s and those with lower degrees. This happened at the same time as the labour market situation for those with such degrees deteriorated compared to those with degrees in other fields. The average yearly labour income is low for all levels of degrees in the humanities and the economic reward from education in humanities is therefore low. An explanation to why so many still choose studies in the humanities in spite of that may be that it is rather easy to gain entrance to this field of study compared to studies for example in medicine. Another explanation may be that many prefer the types of jobs that education in the humanities are expected to lead to. We find, however, that many are in other jobs – they are over-qualified. The majority of those with a basic degree in humanities are women, c. 70 percent. Women have even lower incomes than men among those with degrees in humanities, and those who were born abroad (but with degrees from Sweden) have lower incomes than those who were born in Sweden. The low incomes of those with degrees in humanities are not a short-term phenomenon. A method to increase the relative incomes of those in humanities is to expand the number of slots in education in other disciplines and reduce those in humanities.

Keywords: humanities; labour market situation; yearly labour income

JEL-codes: J44

52 pages, December 9, 2011

Note: Denna arbetsrapport ingår i Forskningsrapport 2011:1 "Humanisterna och framtidssamhället"

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