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Poor Relief, Taxes and the First Universal Pension Reform: the origin of the Swedish welfare state reconsidered

Edebalk, Per Gunnar LU and Olsson, Mats LU (2010) In Scandinavian Journal of History 35(4). p.391-402
Abstract
In the year 1900, Sweden probably had the oldest population in the contemporary world. It was also the first nation to implement a universal pension system in 1913. The universal character in early social legislation has certainly been decisive for the development of the Swedish welfare state. This alternative has not been self-evident. Why did the reforms turn universal, when the continental model, the Bismarck social security system, was exclusively directed at industrial workers? Research has concentrated on demographic factors and growing demands for social security, or on the fact that Sweden was still a predominantly rural society with about 2,400 local authorities. This article examines the development of social legislation in the... (More)
In the year 1900, Sweden probably had the oldest population in the contemporary world. It was also the first nation to implement a universal pension system in 1913. The universal character in early social legislation has certainly been decisive for the development of the Swedish welfare state. This alternative has not been self-evident. Why did the reforms turn universal, when the continental model, the Bismarck social security system, was exclusively directed at industrial workers? Research has concentrated on demographic factors and growing demands for social security, or on the fact that Sweden was still a predominantly rural society with about 2,400 local authorities. This article examines the development of social legislation in the light of local government expenditures and incomes, and suggests an overlooked possibility: the formulation of the first universal national social security reform was a redistributional response to uneven distribution of incomes and general expenditures among the rural districts in Sweden. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Scandinavian Journal of History
volume
35
issue
4
pages
391 - 402
publisher
Routledge
external identifiers
  • wos:000285385000003
  • scopus:78650647517
ISSN
1502-7716
DOI
10.1080/03468755.2010.491635
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d296be96-3fea-4a8a-813b-f8265d066203 (old id 1746129)
date added to LUP
2010-12-16 12:18:32
date last changed
2018-05-29 12:22:44
@article{d296be96-3fea-4a8a-813b-f8265d066203,
  abstract     = {In the year 1900, Sweden probably had the oldest population in the contemporary world. It was also the first nation to implement a universal pension system in 1913. The universal character in early social legislation has certainly been decisive for the development of the Swedish welfare state. This alternative has not been self-evident. Why did the reforms turn universal, when the continental model, the Bismarck social security system, was exclusively directed at industrial workers? Research has concentrated on demographic factors and growing demands for social security, or on the fact that Sweden was still a predominantly rural society with about 2,400 local authorities. This article examines the development of social legislation in the light of local government expenditures and incomes, and suggests an overlooked possibility: the formulation of the first universal national social security reform was a redistributional response to uneven distribution of incomes and general expenditures among the rural districts in Sweden.},
  author       = {Edebalk, Per Gunnar and Olsson, Mats},
  issn         = {1502-7716},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {391--402},
  publisher    = {Routledge},
  series       = {Scandinavian Journal of History},
  title        = {Poor Relief, Taxes and the First Universal Pension Reform: the origin of the Swedish welfare state reconsidered},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03468755.2010.491635},
  volume       = {35},
  year         = {2010},
}