Presenting the Research Institute of Industrial Economics

The Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) is a private and independent foundation devoted to pursuing highly relevant research for trade and industry. In today’s world of intense, knowledge-driven competition, research is duly increasing in specialization, yet so is the need for a broad societal perspective. The researchers at IFN are united in their belief that economic methods offer a powerful tool for understanding society.

IFN is one of Sweden’s leading research environments within the field of economics. We undertake research relevant to policy without sacrificing scientific quality, which is the only way to win the confidence of researchers, experts, and decision-makers.

We believe that IFN’s status as a private institute is one of its strengths. Public sector grants and priorities have always played a large role in deciding economic research. In contrast, IFN has ensured the existence of industry-specific economic research in Sweden throughout the decades. We were, for example, among the first institutes to examine the connection between entrepreneurship and economic growth.

We have a long tradition of conducting high-quality research with integrity. Our research topics evolve with time, and we strive to address the most pressing issues as early as possible. In so doing, we remain an important figure in the research world as well as in the public debate.

Magnus Henrekson, Professor and Managing Director

Download Anders Johnson’s 2012 book about IFN

Our mission

The Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) is a private and non-profit foundation. The Institute was founded in 1939 by the Federation of Swedish Industry (SI) and the Swedish Employers’ Confederation (SAF) in order to encourage research on economic and social issues steeped in significance for industrial development.

Our mission is to:

  • Conduct independent economic research of the highest international academic standing.
  • Contribute high-quality analyses and policy recommendations to public and private decision-makers regarding issues of great relevance for Swedish trade and industry.
  • Disseminate research results to the academic world and to society as a whole.

Our research

We focus on five research programs:

The Economics of Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is of crucial importance for realizing new ideas in wellfunctioning enterprises and contributing to economic growth. In spite of its significance, entrepreneurship is still a relatively unexplored area within the field of economics. We want to change that by examining the underpinnings of entrepreneurship, including patent issues and policies regarding research and development.

Globalization and Corporate Restructuring. Today’s increasing international economic integration gives rise to both opportunities and threats for Swedish corporations and employees. Economic integration also influences society as a whole in a number of different ways. By studying trade agreements, economic policy, and ownership issues, among other topics, we offer new understandings of how globalization’s positive effects are best harnessed and how its negative effects can likewise be assuaged.

Economics of the Service Sector. The bulk of Sweden’ labor force is employed in the service sector, including business services, personal consumption services and services financed by the public sector. Research on topics ranging from immaterial investments and the differences between the production of services under private and public management combine to provide a deeper understanding of the economy’s service industry.

Economics of Electricity Markets. A dependable, cost-efficient electricity supply is among the foundations of a modern society. Yet many people wonder how well the electricity supply is functioning in Sweden and in other countries that have deregulated the electricity market. In this research program, we study the formation of electricity prices, electricity supply networks, and investment incentives with the aim of identifying possible improvements to the structure of the electricity market.

Economics of Institutions and Culture. An economy does not function in a vacuum but consists of people of flesh and blood, with moral values, with attitudes towards their fellow human beings and with an ability to be affected by laws, rules and norms. This research program at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) studies how factors of this kind influence human behavior and, thereby, the way the economy functions – but also how the economy in turn influences morality, norms and social attitudes.

Our researchers are also engaged in a number of individual research projects in addition to these four programs.

Non-partisan and independent research

Our research is non-partisan and independent. Professional integrity and objectivity characterize all research and analysis conducted at the Institute. No research funding, neither personal nor institutional, is accepted for projects with predetermined results or specific policy stances.

Our work

Research publications

IFN’s researchers produce articles published in Swedish and international research journals, in addition to our own publication series. The researchers also write books and regularly conduct research assignments for government agencies, ministries and organizations such as the Centre for Business and Policy Studies (SNS) and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA).


IFN regularly arranges research conferences. As articles within a given research area are presented at these conferences, they are mostly aimed at academics.


IFN offers two forms of seminars: policy seminars directed at the larger public that address current social issues, and research seminars where IFN’s own researchers or invited guests present new research within their fields.


IFN’s electronic newsletter is published three to four times per year. The newsletter, which is directed toward the
greater public interested in policy issues, varies in theme and contains overviews of our latest research findings and
introductions to other areas of topical research.


You can visit our website at www.ifn.se to read about our contributors, acquaint yourself with our research and receive information on future and past events. The English site is mostly aimed at researchers, while the Swedish site is directed toward everyone interested in our work.

Our collaborations

Collaborating with others is a matter of course for us as a research institute. Our researchers co-author articles with colleagues from other institutes, and many of them also teach at various universities and colleges. As part of our extensive program of guest researchers, leading Swedish and foreign researchers also visit the institute for some period of time, thereby contributing to our work.

We also collaborate with figures outside of the academic sphere. In conjunction with the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, we award the annual prize Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research, the world’s leading research prize in the field.

Sick of Inequality?

An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health

Sick of Inequality.jpg

In this book Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, and Daniel Waldenström, IFN and Paris School of Economics, France, review the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. What does inequality mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being?

International cooperation

Visiting researchers

Collaborating with others is essential for IFN as a research institute. Our researchers co-author articles with colleagues from other institutes, and many also teach at various universities and colleges.

As part of our extensive program of guest researchers, leading international researchers visit the institute. The visitors present and pursue their research as well as interact and cooperate with researchers at IFN.

Jordglob 1 för webb


Global Award

Research on entrepreneurship




The Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research is the foremost global award for research on entrepreneurship.This Prize is awarded annually with a prize sum of EUR 100,000.

IFN in cooperation with Entreprenörskapsforum and Vinnova are the principals of the award, in cooperation with the donor, Stockholms Köpmansklubb.

Professor Philippe Aghion, Collège de France, is the winner of the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research 2016. He will receive the award at a ceremony on May 10, 2016, in Stockholm.

Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Grevgatan 34 - 2 fl, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46-(0)8-665 45 00 | info@ifn.se