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Research Institute of Industrial Economics

The Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) is a private and independent foundation conducting economic research with high integrity and focusing on the Swedish business sector. We strive to produce policy-relevant research. In a changing world, IFN ensures a fact-based perspective on crucial issues in society.

Our mission is to conduct high-quality research and to communicate this research to a broader audience. We take this matter seriously, and our researchers are both leading experts in fields relevant to the Swedish industry and sought after as experts in the public and private sector. The strength of the Institute is, no doubt, the competence of its’ staff.

This competence is expressed in the fact that IFN’s research is characterized by accuracy and intellectual vigor. IFN is one of the leading economic research environments in Sweden, and our research is both well-published and well-cited.

Fredrik Sjöholm, Professor and Managing Director

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) 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 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 well-functioning enterprises and contributing to economic growth. Despite 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.

Firm Competitiveness. Firms’ competitiveness in the business sector of the future hinges on securing competent human capital at the owner, management, and worker level. Currently a combination of structural shifts in technology and demand is affecting the resources that firms require to remain globally competitive. The rapid development in artificial intelligence and digitization threatens to automate more and more job tasks. And global cooperation, value chains, and economic integration patterns have shifted in the wake of both the financial crisis and the corona crisis.

Economics of the Service Sector. The bulk of Sweden’s 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.

Sustainable Energy Transition. Sustainable energy transition aims at drastically reducing fossil fuel consumption in society while simultaneously ensuring resource-efficient and reliable energy supply. This research program analyzes by way of formal economic analysis and econometric methods how markets function and how market designs and regulatory frameworks can be improved to achieve the sustainable energy transition.

Economics of Institutions and Culture. An economy does not function in a vacuum. Still, it consists of people of flesh and blood, moral values, attitudes towards their fellow human beings, and 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, how the economy functions and how the economy, in turn, influences morality, norms, and social attitudes.

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.

The research and researchers at the Institute are unified by the conviction that economics is an incomparably powerful tool for understanding society.

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).

Conferences

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

Seminars

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 guests present new research within their fields.

Newsletter

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 topical research areas.

Website

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.