Separation of Power and Expertise: Evidence of the Tyranny of Experts in Sweden’s COVID-19 Responses

Bylund, Per L, and Packard, Mark. 2021. "Separation of Power and Expertise: Evidence of the Tyranny of Experts in Sweden’s Covid-19 Responses." Southern Economic Journal 87(4): 1300-1319

35 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2021 Last revised: 3 Mar 2023

See all articles by Per L. Bylund

Per L. Bylund

School of Entrepreneurship; Ratio Institute; Mises Institute

Mark Packard

Florida Atlantic University

Date Written: January 15, 2021

Abstract

Whereas most countries in the COVID-19 pandemic imposed shutdowns and curfews to mitigate the contagion, Sweden uniquely pursued a more voluntarist approach. In this paper, our interest is primarily on how and why Sweden’s approach to the pandemic was so unique. There are two parts to this research question: (1) why did virtually all other nations follow a radical lockdown protocol despite limited evidence to its effectiveness and (2) why did Sweden not follow this same protocol despite strong political pressures? The answers to these questions lie within typical government technocracy versus Sweden’s constitutional separation of government and technocracy. We review the history of the responses to the pandemic and show how the ‘tyranny of experts’ was severe within the typical technocratic policy response, and attenuated in Sweden’s. Thus, the recent pandemic offers empirical evidence and insights regarding the role of Hayekian knowledge problems in engendering a technocratic ‘tyranny of experts’ and how such effects can be structurally mitigated.

Keywords: Pandemic, policy responses, tyranny of experts, COVID-19, Sweden

JEL Classification: I18

Suggested Citation

Bylund, Per L. and Bylund, Per L. and Packard, Mark, Separation of Power and Expertise: Evidence of the Tyranny of Experts in Sweden’s COVID-19 Responses (January 15, 2021). Bylund, Per L, and Packard, Mark. 2021. "Separation of Power and Expertise: Evidence of the Tyranny of Experts in Sweden’s Covid-19 Responses." Southern Economic Journal 87(4): 1300-1319, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3767004 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3767004

Per L. Bylund (Contact Author)

School of Entrepreneurship ( email )

Oklahoma State University
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HOME PAGE: http://business.okstate.edu/directory/694946.html

Ratio Institute ( email )

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Mises Institute ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://mises.org/bylund

Mark Packard

Florida Atlantic University ( email )

777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33433
United States

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