The End of the ‘Swedish Model’? The Swedish Production Regime in the Globalisation Arena 1980 – 2000
The goal of this paper is to present ongoing research on the historical foundation of the Swedish production regime in the late 19th century and its performance and modifications between 1980 and 2000. Given that acting and strategy of actors in the economic sphere are framed by specific institutional arrangements (concerning the innovation system, the prevalent type of corporate governance, industrial relations and the financing system) generating comparative institutional advantages on global markets, it is assumed that these national production regimes are shaped by specific historical constellations. These affect both the performance of companies and the entire national economy in the shape of path dependency. The Swedish version of these production regimes in form of a ‘coordinated market economy’ (combining high welfare benefits, small and regulated financial markets, an incremental innovation regime, an extremely concentrated ownership structure, a profound international orientation of business and macro-corporatist bargaining structures) was often regarded as a successful or even exemplary way to harmonise efficiency and equity. The deep crisis at the beginning of the 1990s connected with high unemployment, serious losses of world market shares and decelerating rates of economic growth seemed to mark the beginning of the end of this ‘Swedish Model’. In view of the impressive recovering during the 1990s I will analyse how the Swedish production regime was modified under the intensified globalisation pressure and how this modification had an impact on the reconstitution of the Swedish competitiveness.
Keywords: Economic Sociology, Institutional Economics, History, Globalization, Multinationals, Diversity
PhD student, Södertörns Högskola/Stockholm