Wage Determination and Employment in Sweden Since the Early 1990s:

Peter Fredriksson and Robert Topel

in Reforming the Welfare State

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780226261928
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226261911 | DOI:
Wage Determination and Employment in Sweden Since the Early 1990s:

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The original Center for Business and Policy Studies (SNS) in Sweden and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in the United States (SNS-NBER) study of the Swedish labor market was written in the midst of the economic crisis of the early 1990s. This chapter is a sequel to that study and focuses on the postcrisis performance of the labor market, emphasizing institutional and other changes that have affected wage determination, inequality, and employment. Since the crisis, wage formation has become more decentralized. Centralized bargaining continues to set minimum wages in different sectors, but firms and unions bargain above the minimum and decide on specifics in local bargaining. Decentralization contributed to rising wage dispersion as wage outcomes were more likely to reflect market valuations for particular skills. Some of the 1990s increase in wage dispersion in Sweden presumably reflected catching up with market forces, but the catch-up does not seem complete, given the changing economic environment. Employment outcomes are worse for low-skilled persons and non-OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) immigrants than for other workers. However, in the 1990s, the minimum wage increased in hotels and restaurants, which disproportionately employ the less skilled, presumably contributing to the low share of these sectors in the economy.

Keywords: wage determination; employment; Sweden; labor market; economic crisis; immigrants

Chapter.  16171 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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