The Rise and Fall of Swedish Unemployment

58 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2003

See all articles by Bertil Holmlund

Bertil Holmlund

Uppsala University - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: April 2003

Abstract

By international standards, unemployment in Sweden remained remarkably low throughout the 1970s and the 1980s. In the early 1990s, however, the unemployment rate skyrocketed and hit double-digit levels. Unemployment remained high for several years but exhibited a marked fall from 1997 onwards. The paper describes this development and discusses the causes of the rise and fall of unemployment. It is argued that the steep rise in unemployment was mainly the result of a series of adverse macroeconomic shocks, partly self-inflicted by bad policies and partly caused by unfavourable international developments. Institutional factors, such as a trend increase in the generosity of unemployment insurance, caused some secular rise in NAIRU but do not appear as promising explanations of the events of the early 1990s. The fall in unemployment in the late 1990s reflects a combination of favourable macroeconomic conditions and structural factors that may have reduced the NAIRU.

Keywords: Unemployment, Employment, Macroeconomic Shocks, Labor Market Institutions

JEL Classification: E24, J60, J64

Suggested Citation

Holmlund, Bertil, The Rise and Fall of Swedish Unemployment (April 2003). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 918; Uppsala University Economics Working Paper No. 2003:13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=396462

Bertil Holmlund (Contact Author)

Uppsala University - Department of Economics ( email )

SE-75120 Uppsala
Sweden
+46 18 471 1122 (Phone)
+46 18 471 1478 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nek.uu.se/faculty/holmlund/index.html

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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