Employers and pensions. Occupational pensions and manufacturing employers in Sweden 1900 - 1948.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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This dissertation discusses employer run or supported occupational pension schemes. Special attention is given to the question of employers' pension promises, their portability and security, during the first half of the 20:th century in Sweden. How did occupational pensions in private industry change in quantitative terms? What did the terminology of a pension promise, its portability and security, mean, and how did the interpretation change? How did the Swedish Employers' Confederation (SAF) act and react to the development of occupational pensions among its members? In what ways did single employers act with new possibilities and restrictions?
The research design is heavily resting on archival work. The information from the archives varies in scope and quality. My focus on employers is strengthened by the fact that the information used is produced and filed by the involved parties.
It is claimed that SAF was “rescued” from taking a stand, and thereby from an internal conflict, in the pension question at least on three different occasions. Firstly, in 1913, the introduction of a universal and mandatory public pension insurance based on contributions, and a supplementary scheme financed by tax revenue, abolished the threat of employer financing of a mandatory occupational solution similar to the one in Germany. Secondly, in 1937, the advice to the government from the director general, O A Åkesson, on the possible negative effects of a premium reserve system in large scale occupational pension solutions, blocked a legislation due to invoke restrictions on the employers’ freedom to design given pension promises. Thirdly, in 1947, the introduction of a public investigation on a general solution to the occupational pensions question made it possible for the SAF to await its' result. Further it has been stressed that occupational pension schemes were primarily locally established during the period under investigation.
In a case study of AB Robertsfors Bruk, a former sawmill and pulp industry, this is exemplified. However, the specific company is not a typical case in the respect of how they met the needs of their employees' pensions. By an early introduction of a friendly society solution in 1900, the company introduced a contribution based system and an insurance principle. In so, the employees had to contribute to, and take responsibility of, their own old age income. The company contributed as well. The workplace showed typical patriarchal signs. But social conservative ideals lived in symbiosis with the idea of an efficient and modern production. The development of the pensions seems to have been closely linked to a similar balance. Social responsibility connected with an efficient solution of the pension question, efficient in terms of suitable for both parties. Each solution adopted, apart from crisis management, was founded in modern techniques. As one of the few private employers in Sweden at the time, portable
and externally insured pensions was introduced for manual labor as well as salaried employees in the 1930's. The decision was local, the new possibilities were effects of a growing insurance market and a centralization of the risk management. In a slow process, AB Robertsfors Bruk was a forerunner.
Translated title of the contributionEmployers and pensions. Occupational pensions and manufacturing employers in Sweden 1900 - 1948.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • School of Social Work
  • Edebalk, Per Gunnar, Supervisor
Award date2000 Jun 8
Print ISBNs91-7874-066-5
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2000-06-08
Time: 10:00
Place: Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Hort, Sven E
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Stockholms universitet


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Work


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