The Evolution of the Swedish Model

  • Sven Steinmo
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


Sweden provides an excellent case to study the effects of globalization on advanced welfare states for several reasons. Indeed, this case study provides a particularly interesting example of how a specific country has coped, adapted to and internalized the pressures imposed by global competition in recent years (Chapter 1, this volume) precisely because it is the country that many analysts have predicted would be forced to succumb to the supposedly unrelenting global pressures for lower taxes and cut backs to the welfare state. As is well known, Sweden is the most heavily taxed country in the world. Its ‘universalist’ welfare state is one of the most generous and egalitarian in the modern world (Rothstein, 1998). In addition, this country has long had one of the world’s most open economies (Cameron, 1984; Katzenstein, 1985). In short, if globalization were going to force a ‘race to the bottom’ anywhere, certainly Sweden would be its first target.


Welfare State Public Spending Union Wage Social Democratic Party Wage Demand 
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Further reading

  1. Childs, Marquis (1974) Sweden: The Middle Way. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Rothstein, Bo (1988) ‘State and Capital in Sweden: The Importance of Corporatist Arrangements’, Scandinavian Political Studies 11 (3): 235–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Svallfors, Stefan and Peter Taylor-Gooby (1999) The End of the Welfare State?: Responses to State Retrenchment, [Routledge/Esa Studies in European Society 3] London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Tilton, Timothy (1979) ‘A Swedish Road to Socialism: Ernst Wigforss and the Ideological Foundations of Swedish Social Democracy’, American Political Science Review 73 (2): 505–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Useful websites

  1. <> Sweden SE, the official gateway website for Sweden
  2. <> World Fact Book: Sweden
  3. <> SNS, Swedish Politics: Links and Resources
  4. <> Statistical Yearbook of Sweden. Lots of good data about Sweden in numbers

Copyright information

© Sven Steinmo 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven Steinmo

There are no affiliations available

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