OECD Economic Surveys: Sweden

Every 18 months
1999-0448 (online)
1995-3380 (print)
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OECD’s periodic surveys of the Swedish economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

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OECD Economic Surveys: Sweden 2012

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17 Dec 2012
9789264188785 (PDF) ;9789264178991(print)

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OECD's 2012 Economic Survey of Sweden examines recent economic developments, policy and prospects before taking a more detailed look at labour and social policies as well as housing and financial markets.

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  • Basic statistics of Sweden, 2011

    This Survey is published on the responsibility of the Economic and Development Review Committee of the OECD, which is charged with the examination of the economic situation of member countries.Information about the latest as well as previous Surveys and more information about how Surveys are prepared is available at www.oecd.org/eco/surveys.The economic situation and policies of Sweden were reviewed by the Committee on 15 November 2012. The draft report was then revised in the light of the discussions and given final approval as the agreed report of the whole Committee on 29 November 2012.The Secretariat’s draft report was prepared for the Committee by Stéphanie Jamet and Müge Adalet McGowan under the supervision of Vincent Koen. Research assistance was provided by Thomas Chalaux.The previous Survey of Sweden was issued in January 2011.

  • Executive summary

    The Swedish economy has exhibited resilience in the face of international turbulence, thanks to sound macroeconomic policies and substantial structural reforms carried out since the early 1990s. The main challenge going forward is to maintain robust trend growth and make it more inclusive and stable against the backdrop of a weak and uncertain external environment. Maintaining a high level of welfare will help in pushing ahead with reforms.

  • Key policy recommendations

    The broadly neutral fiscal stance for 2013 is appropriate under the government’s projections. If the economic outlook turns out to be weaker, the government should let the automatic stabilisers work in full. In the event of a sharp or prolonged downturn, discretionary stimulus would be warranted.

  • Assessment and recommendations

    In many areas, Sweden is at or close to the frontier, with high per capita income, low inequality and poverty rates, good health status and environmental quality, a sound balance between work and life and high trust in institutions. Moreover, GDP growth has been strong in recent years (). These good outcomes are the fruit of sound macroeconomic policies and substantial structural reforms that have also helped to cope with economic, demographic and other shocks.

  • Labour market and social policies to foster more inclusive growth

    Sweden is a very egalitarian country but inequalities have risen and some groups are poorly integrated into the labour market. To make growth more inclusive, the gap between the cost of labour and productivity for some groups will have to be reduced, transitions from education to work should be facilitated, incentives to take a job ought to be strengthened and the non-employed need to be protected against the risk of falling into unemployment or inactivity traps. This calls for lowering minimum wages relative to the average wage for groups at risk of becoming unemployed, improving vocational education and training, and extending the coverage of the unemployment insurance while strengthening obligations for the unemployed. To address labour market duality risks, the gap in job protection between temporary and permanent contracts needs to be reduced. Women’s employment is high but the gender wage gap could be narrowed further by enhancing women’s employment opportunities.

  • Housing, financial and capital taxation policies to ensure robust growth

    Extensive structural reforms since the early 1990s have strengthened the resilience of the Swedish economy to shocks. However, more needs to be done to better manage near-term risks and ensure that growth remains sustainable in the longer run. Reforming the housing market would reduce the risks associated with high house prices, ensure adequate residential investment and improve labour mobility and well-being. Clarifying the division of responsibilities in financial regulation and improving the macroprudential toolkit would reduce the risks to stability and the contingent fiscal liabilities arising from a large, concentrated banking system. Better aligning the taxation of different types of assets would make taxation more neutral.

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