Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 32: Economic Growth and Economic Policy in Sweden in the 20th Century: A Comparative Perspective

Olle Krantz ()
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Olle Krantz: Department of Economic History, Postal: Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden

Abstract: It is conventional wisdom that Sweden’s economic growth internationally seen was unusually rapid 1870-1970 and then very slow. In this paper Sweden is compared with three country groups viz. sixteen industrialised countries, six countries at the same income level as Sweden 1970, and European small industrialised countries. It is shown that as to relative growth another periodisation is relevant. 1890-1950 with Sweden’s industrial break-through and the world wars where Sweden was non-belligerent showed an exceptional growth. Then, already from the 1950s growth was slow internationally seen. It is hypothesised that this was due to institutional factors related to the so-called “Swedish Model”.

Keywords: economic growth; gdp comparisons; gdp calculations; historical growth; welfare state

JEL-codes: N30; O11; P17; P47

24 pages, March 19, 2004

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