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Wage restraint in Scandinavia: during the postwar period or the neoliberal age?

Bengtsson, Erik LU (2015) In European Review of Economic History 19(4). p.359-381
Abstract
An influential interpretation of the strong growth performance in Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s stresses the importance of wage restraint, trade unions holding back wages to increase investments. This article questions that interpretation, using a wage regression approach with eighty-five to ninety-six years of data on wages, inflation, unemployment, productivity, and other variables in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, focusing on the post-1950 period. It is shown that wages in fact increased faster than productivity in Sweden in the 1950s and 1960s and in Denmark and Norway in the 1960s. On the other hand, especially Denmark and Sweden saw wage restraint in the 1980s and 1990s. Overall the results of the article support a... (More)
An influential interpretation of the strong growth performance in Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s stresses the importance of wage restraint, trade unions holding back wages to increase investments. This article questions that interpretation, using a wage regression approach with eighty-five to ninety-six years of data on wages, inflation, unemployment, productivity, and other variables in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, focusing on the post-1950 period. It is shown that wages in fact increased faster than productivity in Sweden in the 1950s and 1960s and in Denmark and Norway in the 1960s. On the other hand, especially Denmark and Sweden saw wage restraint in the 1980s and 1990s. Overall the results of the article support a power-oriented interpretation of wage bargaining rather than the conventional postwar wage restraint story. In explaining the differences between the countries, the article discusses economic structure, post–World War II situation, and trade union ideology. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
European Review of Economic History
volume
19
issue
4
pages
359 - 381
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:84962097068
ISSN
1474-0044
DOI
10.1093/ereh/hev008
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
3f09e80d-17a4-4a08-8f95-a79c57ff0b64 (old id 8619122)
alternative location
http://ereh.oxfordjournals.org/content/19/4/359
date added to LUP
2016-02-11 13:34:01
date last changed
2017-01-01 03:16:45
@article{3f09e80d-17a4-4a08-8f95-a79c57ff0b64,
  abstract     = {An influential interpretation of the strong growth performance in Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s stresses the importance of wage restraint, trade unions holding back wages to increase investments. This article questions that interpretation, using a wage regression approach with eighty-five to ninety-six years of data on wages, inflation, unemployment, productivity, and other variables in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, focusing on the post-1950 period. It is shown that wages in fact increased faster than productivity in Sweden in the 1950s and 1960s and in Denmark and Norway in the 1960s. On the other hand, especially Denmark and Sweden saw wage restraint in the 1980s and 1990s. Overall the results of the article support a power-oriented interpretation of wage bargaining rather than the conventional postwar wage restraint story. In explaining the differences between the countries, the article discusses economic structure, post–World War II situation, and trade union ideology.},
  author       = {Bengtsson, Erik},
  issn         = {1474-0044},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {359--381},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {European Review of Economic History},
  title        = {Wage restraint in Scandinavia: during the postwar period or the neoliberal age?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ereh/hev008},
  volume       = {19},
  year         = {2015},
}