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The Origins of the Swedish Wage Bargaining Model

Bengtsson, Erik LU (2019) In Lund Papers in Economic History. Education and the Labour Market
Abstract
That export-led industry sets the wage norm for the whole economy, acting as the “wage leader”, is a celebrated part of the Swedish wage bargaining and labour market model. Export- led wage leadership is assumed to lead to controlled, non-inflationary wage increases, as wages are set with international competition in mind. This paper maps the origins of this export industry wage leadership model, showing that the conventional cross-class alliance story focusing on the 1930s does not square with the facts. Going through the central trade union wage bargaining protocols from 1939 to 1959, I show that industry wage leadership was non- existent in the 1930s. In fact, wage formation at the time was quite decentralized. Instead, industry wage... (More)
That export-led industry sets the wage norm for the whole economy, acting as the “wage leader”, is a celebrated part of the Swedish wage bargaining and labour market model. Export- led wage leadership is assumed to lead to controlled, non-inflationary wage increases, as wages are set with international competition in mind. This paper maps the origins of this export industry wage leadership model, showing that the conventional cross-class alliance story focusing on the 1930s does not square with the facts. Going through the central trade union wage bargaining protocols from 1939 to 1959, I show that industry wage leadership was non- existent in the 1930s. In fact, wage formation at the time was quite decentralized. Instead, industry wage leadership was created only in the 1950s. The driving force behind it was not a cross-class alliance between workers and employers in export industry against home market workers, but rather the integration of the trade union wage policy into a Social Democratic macroeconomic project. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Working paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Swedish model, wage bargaining, wage leadership, labour market institutions, J50, J51, N14, N34
in
Lund Papers in Economic History. Education and the Labour Market
issue
2019:195
pages
27 pages
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e52216be-6d97-4583-95d5-f1dfa3379e1e
date added to LUP
2019-03-11 09:54:14
date last changed
2019-03-11 09:54:14
@misc{e52216be-6d97-4583-95d5-f1dfa3379e1e,
  abstract     = {That export-led industry sets the wage norm for the whole economy, acting as the “wage leader”, is a celebrated part of the Swedish wage bargaining and labour market model. Export- led wage leadership is assumed to lead to controlled, non-inflationary wage increases, as wages are set with international competition in mind. This paper maps the origins of this export industry wage leadership model, showing that the conventional cross-class alliance story focusing on the 1930s does not square with the facts. Going through the central trade union wage bargaining protocols from 1939 to 1959, I show that industry wage leadership was non- existent in the 1930s. In fact, wage formation at the time was quite decentralized. Instead, industry wage leadership was created only in the 1950s. The driving force behind it was not a cross-class alliance between workers and employers in export industry against home market workers, but rather the integration of the trade union wage policy into a Social Democratic macroeconomic project.},
  author       = {Bengtsson, Erik},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Working Paper},
  number       = {2019:195},
  series       = {Lund Papers in Economic History. Education and the Labour Market},
  title        = {The Origins of the Swedish Wage Bargaining Model},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/61355903/LUPEH_195.pdf},
  year         = {2019},
}