If Seebohm Rowntree Had Studied Sweden: How Poverty Changed in the City of Göteborg from 1925 to 2003

31 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2010

See all articles by Björn Gustafsson

Björn Gustafsson

University of Gothenburg - Department of Social Work; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Birgitta Jansson

University of Gothenburg

Abstract

This paper investigates the development of poverty in Sweden using micro data derived from tax files for the city of Göteborg for the years 1925, 1936, 1947, 1958 as well as more recent (1983, 1994 and 2003) information. We define poverty as living in a household with a disposable income lower than a poverty line that represents a constant purchasing power all years, as well as poverty lines defined as 60 percent of contemporary median income. Clear reductions of poverty from 1925 to 1947 as well as from 1958 to 1983 are found. We argue that an important poverty reducing mechanism during both periods was narrowing earnings disparities. Further we claim that the poverty reduction from the end of the 1950s to the first half of the 1980s was the outcome of improved transfer systems as well as the establishment of pronounced characteristics of present-day Sweden: the dual earner system.

Keywords: poverty, Sweden, Seebohm Rowntree, Gothenburg, earnings distribution, dual earner

JEL Classification: I32, N34, N94

Suggested Citation

Gustafsson, Bjorn and Jansson, Birgitta, If Seebohm Rowntree Had Studied Sweden: How Poverty Changed in the City of Göteborg from 1925 to 2003. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4857, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1584188

Bjorn Gustafsson (Contact Author)

University of Gothenburg - Department of Social Work ( email )

Göteborg
Sweden
+46 31-773-1890 (Phone)
+45 31-773-1888 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Birgitta Jansson

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg, 405 30
Sweden

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