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Erik Bengtsson . Foto

Erik Bengtsson


Erik Bengtsson . Foto

The Changing Meaning of the Wage Bargaining Round in Sweden since the 1960s: A Contextual Approach to Shifts in Industrial Relations


  • Erik Bengtsson

Summary, in English

Sweden is renowned for its centralized wage bargaining system, which has been studied for decades from the point of view of inflation, wage differentials and unemployment. A coordinated system in place since 1997 has been compared to the centralized system of the postwar era, while other scholars have pointed to differences in how the institutions work in practice. This paper studies media coverage of wage bargaining rounds in the 1950s-1960s and in the 2000s-2010s to investigate the social understanding of what the wage bargaining institutions are supposed to do. The results indicate that the operation of the wage bargaining system in the 2000s and that in the post-war era are in fact understood very differently: while widely shared aims for wage bargaining rounds in the 1950s and 1960s were to a high degree formulated by the trade unions, trade union influence over the agenda was significantly weaker in the 2000s and 2010s, when external experts, not the least from the financial sector, were to a much higher degree used to define and formulate what good bargaining outcomes would be.


  • Tillväxt, teknologisk förändring och ojämlikhet
  • Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen






Lund Papers in Economic History




Working paper


  • Economic History


  • trade unions
  • collective bargaining
  • Sweden
  • Social Democracy
  • J50
  • N34