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Kristallkulan och den ekonomiska politiken: Koordineringen av den ekonomiska politiken och behovet av en statlig institution för konjunkturanalyser 1908–1937
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2016 (Swedish)In: Historisk Tidskrift (S), ISSN 0345-469X, ISSN 0345-469x, Vol. 136, no 4, 595-624 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [sv]

År 1937 inrättades det statliga Konjunkturinstitutet. Det utgjorde slutpunkten påframväxten av en offentlig konjunkturbevakning som inleddes i början av 1900-talet. Tillkomsten av institutet var del av en aktiv ekonomisk politik mot arbetslöshet.Uppsatsen stödjer därmed indirekt den forskning som hävdar att krispolitikensvagga stod att finna i riksdagens behandling av arbetslöshetsfrågan åren före1914.

Abstract [en]

A rational planning of public works and a counter cyclical economic policycontributed to the building of a Swedish public monitoring system of theeconomy during the first three decades of the twentieth century.The starting point in the development of this monitoring system was theproposal for an economic barometer on a French model in 1910 and the endpointwas the establishment of the National Institute of Economic Research(NIER) in 1937. Both the barometer and the NIER shared a common purposeto inform the public and the business community of the current economicsituation, and above all, to work as tool for the government to control andregulate the trajectories of business cycles. The analysis of a vast amountof documentation presented in this essay provides new insights into thedevelopment of economic policy in Sweden during this period of time andcontributes to our understanding of the emergence of Keynesian economicpolicy during the interwar period.There was an attempt to meet the demand for a counter-cyclical economicpolicy in 1910 with the suggestion for a public economic barometerand the creation of a permanent institution assisting the government inmitigating unemployment. The purpose was to prevent unemployment bycalculating the turning points in the business cycle and thereby to facilitatea counter-cyclical economic policy. Parliament rejected the proposal referringto the difficulty to determine the turning points and to its own abilityto determine the proper time to starting and redistribute planned publicworks. However, in 1914 Parliament made a concession by replacing theeconomic barometer with a series of economic indicators intended for thepublic and the business world.During the first world war the question lay dormant. However, signs ofraising unemployment in some sectors of the economy in early 1920 resultedin a bill submitted to Parliament suggesting the establishment of a permanentbody with the aim to increase the mobility of labour. References weremade to the debate in Parliament prior to 1914, but the bill was not adopted.Instead, Parliament decided to submit the question to the parliamentaryCommittee of Social Insurance for further examination.Although the economic depression in 1921 and 1922 in fact lead to anincreased public albeit descriptive statistical surveillance of the Swedisheconomy it was not until 1925 that the sudden signs of backlash and increasingunemployment convinced the government that the labour market wasin need of greater examination. This resulted in the appointment in 1927 of a new parliamentary committee, the Commission of Unemployment.The sources show that from the outset of its work the commission consideredthe question of improved economic statistics and of counter-cyclicalpolicy as important means to prevent long-time unemployment. Some ofthese documents also contain references to the pre-1914 proposal for aneconomic barometer.The advent of the economic depression in the beginning of 1930 gave animpetus to the idea of establishing a permanent institute to assist and guidethe government in formulating its economic policy against unemployment.Between 1932 and 1934 the outline of an economic information office wasworked out mainly within the Commission of Unemployment. Its reportwas published in 1935 with a draft proposal for a national economic informationoffice. The sources indicate that the planning of the new institution wascarried through in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance as a part oflaunching the new economic policy against unemployment. In 1937 Parliamentdecided to establish a national institute of economic research (NIER).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Svenska historiska föreningen, 2016. Vol. 136, no 4, 595-624 p.
Keyword [en]
business cycles, central planning, economic indicators, economic policy, unemployment
Keyword [sv]
konjunkturcykler, planhushållning, ekonomiska indikatorer, ekonomisk politik, arbetslöshet, Konjunkturinstitut
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-135801OAI: diva2:1049173
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Finansiering: Stiftelsen Söderströms donationsfond, Kungliga Vetenskapsakademin

Available from: 2016-11-23 Created: 2016-11-23 Last updated: 2016-11-23

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