OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

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Improving school results and equity in compulsory education in Sweden

Swedish school results declined for two decades following a series of reforms in the early 1990s decentralising the school system and introducing choice, competition and management by objectives. The general aims and direction of reform were not destined to lower results, but weaknesses of reform design and implementation, against the backdrop of a deep recession, likely contributed to falling outcomes. Residential segregation and the current model of competition and choice increase school segregation and likely reduce equality of opportunity. A coherent set of reforms should strengthen central government institutions, rebuild a regional governance structure and increasingly target funding to pupils’ needs. Better steering of competition and school choice implies ensuring that grades fairly represent pupils’ skills and knowledge, that municipalities increasingly take the socio-economic mix of pupils into account in entry and investment decisions, and that entry and expansion of private schools are better coordinated to counter school segregation. Teaching needs to become more attractive to raise the quality of recruitment to the profession and to address current and future teacher shortages by improving teacher education, strengthening continuous learning and instigating more cooperation, feedback and support between colleagues.

This Working Paper relates to the 2019 OECD Economic Survey of Sweden (http://www.oecd.org/economy/sweden-economic-snapshot/).


Keywords: education, competition, governance, Sweden
JEL: H44: Public Economics / Publicly Provided Goods / Publicly Provided Goods: Mixed Markets; I28: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Education: Government Policy; I21: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Analysis of Education; H75: Public Economics / State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations / State and Local Government: Health; Education; Welfare; Public Pensions
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