SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance
The Transformation of Ownership Policy and Structure in Sweden: Convergence towards the Anglo-Saxon Model?
() and Ulf Jakobsson
Abstract: We investigate the dramatic transformation of ownership
policies and ownership structure in Sweden during the postwar period. After
WWII, Swedish ownership policies were guided by a socialist vision where
the ultimate goal was abolition of private ownership. These policies came
to an end in the early 1980s. Since then a large number of Swedish firms
have been acquired by foreign owners or merged with foreign firms and the
foreign ownership share on the Swedish Stock Exchange has increased
rapidly. A central question is whether this fast transformation is merely a
logical consequence of current globalization, or whether this tendency has
been reinforced by economic policies vis-ŕ-vis the business sector in
Sweden. We show that until the late 1980s, Swedish economic policy – aimed
at discouraging private wealth accumulation and favoring institutional
ownership and debt financing – effectively precipitated the rapid takeover
of the Swedish business sector by foreign owners that gained momentum in
the 1990s. Policy measures intended to create a system of “capitalism
without capitalists” can be said to have “packaged” large Swedish
corporations in terms of ownership and financing structure, so that foreign
takeover was facilitated. The article ends with a discussion as to whether
the dramatic change in ownership structure in the Swedish business sector
may result in the demise of the old corporatist model of industrial
relations, giving way to a new trend towards a liberal market economy of
the current Anglo-Saxon variety.
Keywords: Corporatism; Entrepreneurship; Industrial policy; Ownership policy; Ownership structure; Swedish Model; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: M13; N24; O38; P16; (follow links to similar papers)
40 pages, October 26, 2001, Revised September 19, 2002
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- Publication Data:
- Published in New Political Economy, 2003, pages 73-102.
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