The movement of White collar unions and the emergence of employment transition agreements in the Swedish Model

Project leader: Jan Ottosson
Project members: Olle Jansson
Duration: 2018-2019
Funding: Forte

During the last decades the role and coverage of Employment Transitional Agreements (ETA) between the social partners on the labor market have increased. Such agreements are from an international point of view unique and can therefore be considered as a typical expression of the Swedish model: employees and employers on a central level concluded similar agreements covering large parts of the labor market. At the same time, these agreements are an expression of something that is contrary to another important aspect of the Swedish model - the state's responsibility for labor market policy. ETAs cover some aspects that according to the textbook model will be the responsibility of the state, not the social partners. How these agreements emerged and developed can thus be seen as manifestation of the reformulation of the Swedish model. ETAs are thus particularly interesting to examine from a perspective where these agreements is related to the Swedish model. Firstly, these agreements recalibrate the role of the state and the social partners with regard to unemployment protection. Secondly, the initiatives for such agreements came from the movement of white collar unions - TCO and Saco - not from the Confederation of labor unions LO, who is usually portrayed as the key actor in the formation of the Swedish model. This project thus aims to investigate and analyze the historical reasons behind the emergence and development of ETAs and the prominent role of white collar and professional unions in this expansion. Should this trend be seen mainly as a result of an interest in trying to try to compensate for welfare state retrenchment, or should the agreements be seen as an initiative in order to adapt to the working life and the labor market of today and tomorrow? We believe that a closer study of the ETAs history can contribute to a greater understanding of contemporary developments in the Swedish labor market and the Swedish Model.

The Metal Bazaar: Knowledge-making in the Stockholm Metal Trades during the ‘Long Eighteenth Century’

Project leader: Göran Rydén (Institutet för bostads- och urbanforskning, Uppsala universitet)
Project members: Måns Jansson (Ekonomisk-historiska, Uppsala univesitet)
Duration: 2017 - 2020
Funding: Handelsbankens forskningsstiftelser (Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius Stiftelse, Tore Browaldhs Stiftelse)

The aim with this project is to explore knowledge-making in the Stockholm metal trades during the ‘long eighteenth century’. It focuses on the period 1720–1820, including both the rapid expansion for the domestic manufacturing trades during the mid-eighteenth century and the later stagnation for the Stockholm-economy. This period witnessed changes in the political system as well as in the ideological views on economy and industries. Protectionist regulations and monopolistic policies successively gave way to ideas of more unregulated economic activities. Here, the expansion for metalworking in the ‘free town’ (Fristad) of Eskilstuna from the late-eighteenth century is one important reference point. The primary interest is in activities related to metal workshops included in the manufacturing system, and not the Stockholm metal-making guilds. Still, the boundaries and exchanges between these different institutional affiliations are of interest to us, with many artisans presumably moving between different workshops over time.
The project is built around three related ‘steps’. First of all, we will work towards the construction of a database on metal manufacturing in Stockholm during the period 1720–1820. The database will include general information about the number of workshops and employees. Secondly, artisan mobility will be investigated more closely, with a focus on the journeys of Stockholm artisans in Europe and the recruitments of foreign artisans. Finally, a number of ‘trajectories’ will be selected and followed over time: we will explore movements, employments and patterns of training that linked workshops in the urban space.

En fråga om arv: Humankapital och förmögenhet som förutsättning för social mobilitet, Sverige 1880-1950

Project leader: Kristina Lilja
Project membersJonas Söderqvist och Dan Bäcklund (Economic History, Uppsala University)
Duration: 2014-
Funding: Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius Stiftelse

The aim is to study the interplay between wealth and investments in human capital (HC) and explain their effects on social mobility in Sweden 1880-1950. What impact did family wealth have on investments in children’s education and how did these investments affect children’s wealth and social status as adults? Which social mechanisms can explain the outcome in short- and long-term social mobility? The project, consequently, connects to the debate about whether the democratization of the educational system was important for the development of a more equal society and also promoted economic growth as human resources were better used (Goldin & Katz 2009; Piketty 2014). In this project the term HC is restricted to formally organised education, theoretical as well as vocational.

The Swedish transition to equality: income inequality with new micro data, 1862–1970

Project leader: Erik Bengtsson (Economic History, Lund University)
Project members: Jakob Molinder (Economic History, Uppsala University), Svante Prado (Economic History, University of Gothenburg)
Duration: 2019 - 2022
Funding: Vetenskapsrådet och Jan Wallander och Tom Hedelius forskningsstiftelse

The purpose of this project is to uncover and analyze the long-run evolution of the Swedish income distribution, and its determinants. Sweden plays a special role in research on inequality and welfare states, since it was uniquely equal in the final third or so of the 20th century. It is, however, debated when, how and why this equality arose.

The project proposes to resolve this issue by creating a new dataset of Swedish incomes for every tenth year from 1862 to 1970 (1862, 1870, 1880 and so on). The great strength of the dataset is that it encompasses all parts of the income distribution, not only top income earners; as it is, we only have full income information for Sweden going back to 1968.

The project is important since Sweden is such a critical case in the research debate on economic inequality, and we still have so little precise information about the development of income inequality historically. The project will contribute not only to our understanding of Sweden, but to inequality and its determinants generally.

The project stretches over four years and involves three project participants. The first year is mainly devoted to data collection. The new dataset is based especially on taxation archives hosted at Swedish National Archives. Years two, three and four are devoted mostly to analysis and writing of research papers. The project utilizes a social tables approach which enables the analysis of historical income structures.