Why did Swedish regional net migration rates fall in the 1970s? The role of policy changes versus structural change, 1945–1985

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The relationship between local labour market conditions and regional migration has been widely discussed within research. In Sweden, where interregional migration reached a peak in the 1960s but decreased substantially in the 1970s, the role of economic policy has been especially contended in light of the Swedish model and its official stress on regional mobility. By collecting and creating a new and unique dataset on net-migration, vacancy rates, employment and labour income by county, the pattern of interregional migration in Sweden is analysed over a period of time that also covers the early postwar period (1945– 1985), allowing for a detailed evaluation of the drivers of migration at different times. My results suggest that there was no significant change over time in the responsiveness of migration to local labour market conditions. The changing patterns of regional migration were therefore more likely the result of changes in the pace and direction of structural change. I discuss the implications of these results for previous accounts of the Swedish model and of the decline in migration after 1970.


External organisations
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History


  • Swedish model, regional migration, labour markets, economic restructuring
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-115
Number of pages26
JournalScandinavian Economic History Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch