Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 249: The Swedish industrial relations transformation during the 1970s – abolishing neutrality and affecting the deep structure

Henrik Malm Lindberg ()
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Henrik Malm Lindberg: The Ratio institute, Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Industrial Relations systems are essentially a nexus of contracts between different actors: Government, employer’s organizations and unions first and foremost. The Swedish labour market model was based on the concept of Government neutrality ie: non-partisanship and non-intervention from the early 20th century. Did the interventionist state during the 1970s change the fundamentals of the Swedish model? I argue that it did. The argument is based on an empirical investigation that comes from the concept “Frontier of Control”. If we take five dimensions: Occupational safety, Determination in work-place issues, Employment and dismissals, Strikes and industrial conflicts and lastly Determination in company issues, the power relations changed fundamentally in the 1970s with the labour law legislation and was ultimately part of a paradigmatic change in Swedish IR.

Keywords: Industrial Relations; labour law legislation; Government neutrality; political radicalization

JEL-codes: J53; J58; K31; N34

24 pages, December 31, 2014

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