The State at Work, Volume 1

The State at Work, Volume 1

Public Sector Employment in Ten Western Countries

Edited by Hans-Ulrich Derlien and B. Guy Peters

Representing the most extensive research on public employment, this volume explores the radical changes that have taken place in the configuration of national public services due to a general expansion of public employment that was followed by stagnation and decreases. Part-time employment and the involvement of women also increased as a component of the public sector and were linked to the most important growth areas such as the educational, health care and personal social services sectors. The two volumes that make up this study shed important insight on these changes.

Chapter 11: The Welfare State is Female: Trends in Public Sector Employment in Sweden

Jon Pierre

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, public policy


Jon Pierre MEASURING PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT IN SWEDEN This chapter provides a fairly broad-brushed image of recent changes in public sector employment in Sweden. Public employment in Sweden is measured using several different types of data. The chapter therefore discusses developments in Swedish public employment in the context of general issues and problems associated with measuring it. These problems are discussed extensively elsewhere in this volume. Therefore, this chapter will only point at a couple of issues which seem to be particularly salient in the Swedish case. The public sector in Sweden, particularly those institutions which deliver welfare state services, developed an almost worldwide reputation during the first three decades after the Second World War. It should be noted, however, that a large part of the ‘welfare state’ were redistributive programmes, that is a progressive tax system coupled with income-related public transfers. In addition to these programmes there are several transfers which are not related to income but rather, universal. What is more, and the most relevant sector of the Swedish welfare state in the present context, the welfare state developed extensive services in areas such as medical care, care of the elderly and daycare centres for preschool-age children. These sectors are fairly labour-intensive hence it is here that we find a large part of the explanation to the previous growth in public sector employment in Sweden. By the same token, the cutbacks that have been implemented across the welfare state during the last decade has curbed public sector employment....

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