Ekonomisk tillväxt i välfärdskapitalismen: En jämförande studie av BNP per capita-tillväxten i rika OECD-länder 1970-2000

Translated title of the contribution: Economic Growth in Welfare Capitalism: A Comparative Study of GDP per capita Growth in Rich OECD Countries 1970-2000

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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Abstract

In the early 1990s, Sweden was hit by a profound economic crisis. The Swedish crisis of the nineties was not perceived as a temporary recession, but rather as a fundamental and systemic fault in Swedish economy. Many commentators held that the Swedish model with a large welfare state and high taxes had impaired Sweden's economic performance. The aim of this thesis is to empirically assess the hypothesis that a large welfare state impedes economic growth. I try to answer two research questions: (1) Did Sweden have a lower economic growth than other OECD countries during the period 1951-2000? (2) Do countries with more extensive political influence over market forces have a lower economic growth than countries with a freer economy? I measure the degree of political influence over the market economy in a number of ways: the total outlays of government, social security transfers, government final consumption expenditures and the Economic Freedom of the World Index. I compared the GDP per capita growth as a percentage in Sweden and 16 other OECD countries during the period 1951-2000. With an average annual growth of 2.3 per cent, Sweden is clearly below the mean value of 2.8 per cent. But the comparison also revealed that a number of other countries are experiencing just as low or even a lower growth than Sweden. I found that countries with a lower GDP per capita at the start of the investigative period tend to gain a quicker growth than countries with a higher GDP per capita (often refered to catch-up effect). I estimated a number of panel data regressions with fixed effects, where the GDP per capita growth as a percentage is regressed on different variables given in the academic literature on economic growth. The empirical analyses covered 16 and 17 countries during the period 1970-2000. The analyses produced varied results which are difficult to interpret. But the hypothesis that countries with a freer market economy have a higher GDP per capita growth than other countries with a more regulated market economy received some empirical support. One important general lesson that can be learned from this thesis is that it is difficult to use regression analysis on aggregated country data in order to discuss the effect of the size of the public sector on economic growth. Overall, it has proven impossible in the thesis to establish a causal connection between the Swedish welfare state and the fact that Sweden's economic growth has been lower than that of several other countries during the post-war period.
Translated title of the contributionEconomic Growth in Welfare Capitalism: A Comparative Study of GDP per capita Growth in Rich OECD Countries 1970-2000
Original languageSwedish
QualificationDoctor
Awarding Institution
  • Sociology
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Hetzler, Antoinette, Supervisor
  • Nilsson, Kjell, Supervisor
Award date2015 Nov 24
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-91-7623-490-7
Electronic ISBNs978-91-7623-491-4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2015-11-24
Time: 10:15
Place: Hörsal 128, Stora Algatan 4, Lund
External reviewer(s)
Name: Nelson, Kenneth
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Stockholms universitet
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Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)

Keywords

  • comparative research
  • Swedish model
  • economic sociology
  • macro sociology
  • economic growth
  • welfare regimes
  • welfare state
  • welfare capitalism

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