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IFN in the Press

IFN researchers are regullary interviewed by the media. International press clippings are found here, whereas Swedish and Scandinavian press clippings are found on our Swedish website.

Latest articles

26 January 2021

The dynamic impact of exporting on firm R&D investment

Matilda Orth, IFN, and Florin Maican, affiliated to the IFN have written a column on the dynamic impact of exporting on firm R&D investment in Vox EU. Together with their co-authors Mark Roberts, Pennsylvania State University, and Van Anh Vuong, Maastricht University they use a structural framework to estimate the returns to innovation investments and analyze the impact of trade of those returns.

Read the column here

Vox EU

20 December 2020

Schwedens Sonderweg: Alles anders

Lars Calmfors, IFN and University of Stockholm is interviewed by German paper Capital on the Covid crisis:

"Im Vergleich mit anderen Ländern, hat es Schweden wirtschaftlich nicht so hart getroffen“, sagt auch Lars Calmfors, Ökonom und Professor am Institute for International Economic Studies der Stockholm University. Es sei aber schwierig zu sagen, inwiefern das allein mit der schwedischen Strategie zusammenhänge. „Da spielen viele weitere Faktoren hinein: ökonomische Strukturen, fiskale Unterstützungsmaßnahmen, die Ausbreitung des Virus“, sagt er. Betroffen seien vor allem die Bereiche der Wirtschaft, die direkten Kontakt erfordern, wie der Tourismus, die Eventbranche und die Gastronomie. Der Industrie gehe es hingegen nach einem Einbruch im Frühjahr besser und auch der Onlinehandel sei deutlich gewachsen. Mit Blick auf die hohen Infektions- und Todeszahlen gibt er aber zu bedenken: „Wir haben ökonomisch vielleicht etwas gewonnen, aber der Preis dafür war mit Blick auf verlorene Menschenleben sehr hoch.“

Compared to other countries, Sweden has not been hit so hard economically," says Lars Calmfors, economist and professor at the Institute for International Economic Studies at Stockholm University. But it is difficult to say to what extent this is solely related to the Swedish strategy. "Many other factors play a role here: economic structures, fiscal support measures, the spread of the virus," he says. The areas of the economy that require direct contact, such as tourism, the event industry and gastronomy, are particularly affected. The industry, however, is doing better after a slump in spring and online trading has also grown significantly. With a view to the high number of infections and deaths, however, he points out: "We may have won something economically, but the price for it was very high in terms of human lives lost.

Read the article here ( in German)


18 December 2020

Normas voluntarias: punto final para el experimento pandémico de Suecia

Lars Calmfors, IFN, is referred to in an article in La Nacion.

The paper writes about Sweden's Covid strategy:

"El miedo al virus y los consejos del gobierno para evitar interacciones sociales han tenido impacto en la demanda interna, dañando la confianza de los inversores y las empresas, dice Lars Calmfors, economista y miembro de la Real Academia de las Ciencias de Suecia.

"A los países con restricciones obligatorias les fue mejor que a nosotros", agrega Calmfors."

Fear of the virus and government advice to avoid social interactions have had an impact om domestic demand, damaging investor and business confidence, says Lars Calmfors, an economist and member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. "Countries with mandatory restrictions did better than us," adds Calmfors.

Read the article here

And here

La Nacion

18 December 2020

Covid-19: “Teríamos de atribuir um valor muito baixo às vidas perdidas para dizer que a estratégia sueca foi ‘economicamente lucrativa’”

Lars Calmfors, IFN and University of Stockholm, is interviewed by Portuguese paper Publico.

"O professor emérito de Economia Internacional da Universidade de Estocolmo, investigador do Instituto de Investigação de Economia Industrial e membro da Academia Real de Ciências da Suécia é crítico da estratégia da Suécia, mesmo do ponto de vista económico. Lars Calmfors aponta, no entanto, que os programas de apoio a empresas e agregados financiados pelo Governo funcionaram bem. E diz que em décadas de presença em debates públicos difíceis, nunca teve tantas reacções desfavoráveis."

The emeritus professor of International Economics at the University of Stockholm, a researcher at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is critical of Sweden's strategy, even from an economic point of view. Lars Calmfors points out, however, that government-funded business and household support programs have worked well. And he says that in decades of presence in difficult public debates, he has never had so many unfavorable reactions.

Read the article ( in Portuguese)


15 December 2020

A economia da Suécia não está mal, mas as dos vizinhos nórdicos estão melhores. O que correu mal na estratégia de Estocolmo?

Lars Calmfors, IFN, is interviewed by Observador:

The paper reports on Sweden's Covid strategy and its implications for the Swedish economy:

"PIB terá caído menos mas comércio está em dificuldades e taxa de desemprego não era tão alta desde 1998. Economista Lars Calmfors junta número de mortos à equação e fala em "prejuízo económico enorme”

GDP will have fallen less but trade is struggling and unemployment rate has not been so high since 1998. Economist Lars Calmfors adds death toll to the equation and speaks of "huge economic loss".

Read the article here


20 November 2020

La Suède, ce modèle qui ne se ressemble plus

Lars Calmfors, IFN, is interviewed by Les Echos on Sweden's view on the EU. Swexit is not on the Swedish Agenda, says Lars Calmfors:

"Le « Swexit » n’est pas à l’ordre du jour. « Les Suédois ont fait le chemin inverse des Britanniques, en devenant plus positifs à l’égard de
l’Union » rejointe en 1995, insiste Lars Calmfors. Cet économiste moustachu est celui qui avait présidé la commission ayant recommandé
un report de l’adhésion du royaume à la zone euro, finalement rejetée par référendum en 2003 et tombée dans les oubliettes depuis.
« Nous aimons surtout l’UE comme une zone de libre-échange qui facilite le commerce, reconnaîtil. Mais nous la souhaiterions aussi plus
ambitieuse dans sa politique climatique ou sur l’immigration, avec un partage plus équitabledes réfugiés. »"

Read more

Les Echos

9 November 2020

Capital taxation: A survey of the evidence

Daniel Waldenström, IFN, and Spencer Bastani, affiliated to IFN, write about capital taxation in Vox EU.

"The research on optimal capital taxation has undergone large changes. For a long time, the conventional wisdom was that capital income should not be taxed, mainly due to the influential studies of Atkinson and Stiglitz (1976), Judd (1985), and Chamley (1986). These studies emphasised the costly distortions imposed by capital income taxation on individual savings decisions. In the last decades, however, several notable contributions have challenged these studies, noting that such distortions can be useful to counter other distortions, or to promote equity objectives.  

The main argument for taxing capital income, and capital more generally, in this new generation of studies, is that labour income taxation can be a blunt instrument for redistribution when there is substantial heterogeneity in wealth and capital income among individuals with the same labour income. Such heterogeneity arises when one, realistically, assumes that taxpayers differ not only in terms of their labour earning ability (as emphasised by the traditional literature), but also in terms of other characteristics, such as inheritances received, their achievable rates of return on their investments, and their preferences for saving. The combination of labour and capital taxes is therefore able to achieve potentially more efficient redistribution than if labour income were taxed alone. "

Read the article here

Vox EU

3 November 2020

U.S. Presidential Election: The Psychology of Victory

Niclas Berggren and Henrik Jordahl, IFN, are referred to in Psychology Today.

"A recent study entitled, ‘The right look: Conservative politicians look better and voters reward it’, found that politicians on the right of the political spectrum, on average, look more beautiful, a finding replicated in Europe, the U.S. and Australia.

The authors, Niclas Berggren, Henrik Jordahl and Panu Poutvaara argue that as beautiful people earn more, they are more likely to oppose redistribution and so tend to end up on the right of the political spectrum."

Read more

Psychlogy Today

27 October 2020

Why Sweden is on the verge of another tech revolution

Magnus Henrekson, IFN, is interviewed by The Daily Telegraph on Sweden's flourishing tech sector.

Why is Sweden so successful when it comes to tech companies? One of the explanations is Sweden's lack of wealth tax according to Magnus Henrekson:

"This means that people are accumulating wealth and if they make an exit and a lot of money, they have to search for other investment opportunities", he says.

Read the article here

The Daily Telegraph

20 October 2020

We saved our economy in Sweden. But too many people died.

Lars Calmfors, IFN, writes about his views on the Swedish Covid strategy in Washington Post.

Lars Calmfors argues that we saved our economy, but too many people died. Other countries shouldn't rush to emulate our pandemic strategy.

"The jury is still out on how well Sweden copes with the pandemic in the longer run: Case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths fell to low levels in August and early September but are now rising again. Based on the numbers so far, however, it appears that Sweden’s failure to adopt a more cautious approach in the early phase of the pandemic caused an unnecessarily large number of deaths, most of them among the elderly. In my view, one would have to attach an unreasonably low value to their lives to conclude that the economic gains outweighed the human losses."

Read the article in Washington Post

Read the article in Anchorage Daily News

Washington Post, Anchorage Daily News

20 October 2020

Sweden's less strict measures have helped the economy...but we will soon be facing difficult tradeoffs

Lars Calmfors, IFN, is interviewed by Times of India about his views on Sweden's Covid strategy:

When asked if governments need to offer more economic stimuli from time to time Lars Calmfors replies:

"Yes, they will probably have to do this, but the tradeoffs will become increasingly difficult. In the spring, policies were easy. It was just a matter of pumping out money to stave off an economic disaster without any need or any possibility of fine tuning. But we cannot do this for two-three years; measures will have to be better calibrated. For example, there would be huge social losses if we subsidise people to do nothing through various furlough schemes, which we as well as many other European countries have been doing. We should increasingly try to support activities that have good prospects for long-run expansion and new hires. But it will not be easy to find the right balance."

Read the full article in Times of india

Times of India

2 October 2020

Senhorios discriminam casais homossexuais

Niclas Berggren,IFN, and Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, are referenced to in Portuguese newspaper Ardina.

Their paper "Religiosity and discrimination against same-sex couples: The case of Portugal's rental market" studies discrimination against same-sex couples in the Portuguese rental market. A correspondence field experiment with different types of couples shows that there is a 26% lower probability of a positive response for male same-sex couples.

Read more ( in Portuguese)

Find the paper here

Read about the research in Esquerda


28 September 2020

The case for numerical employment policy targets

Lars Calmfors, IFN, writes a column ion Vox EU on the case for numerical employment policy targets :

"All advanced economies will have to cope with both labour market and government debt problems after the Covid-19 crisis. Numerical employment targets may therefore have a role to play in many countries.  They may help balance fiscal objectives, reducing the risk that consolidation efforts imply overly contractionary policies. At the same time, they could support these efforts by strengthening the incentives for reforms that raise structural employment. "

Read more

Vox EU

5 September 2020

Assar Lindbeck, economist, 1930–2020

Assar Lindbeck, IFN, passed away on August 28th. Carl Hamilton writes his Obituary in the Financial Times:

"He had strong views on how economists should practise their craft and obtained inspiration from real world problems. Mathematical models could be useful, he believed, but only to serve and support the study of “real life”. Economists should not select economic problems because they suited a particular mathematical model. He wisely warned that such economists risked becoming “brilliant fools”."

Read more

Financial Times

1 September 2020

No Todo Emprendimiento es Productivo

Magnus Henrekson, IFN, is interviewed by Foro on entrepreneurship. One of the questions is how one can tell if there is high-quality entrepreneurship in a country, to which Henrekson replies:

"In most cases, a high-income level tells there is high-quality entrepreneurship. Of course, there are other ways of having a high-income level, but poor countries don't usually have highly-productive entrepreneurship. They may have many entrepreneurs,but they have very little opportunity to grow, and their success is therefore very limited. Most of the wealthiest countries in the world are entrepreneurial, although there are some that are not so, such as Germany and Japan, who rather have very large companies. But there is something called intrapreneurship, which refers to the act of employees behaving like entrepreneurs within a company. Companies like BMW or Toyota would not have been as successful as they are if they did not promote entrepreneurship inside the company among employees. In countries where wealth has been built on natural resources, you don't really have the need to be entrepreneurial. They make money too easily. So they don't have to be innovative. If, for example, you find a huge amount of oil like Norway did in the late 1960s, then you become a very different country. Norway is today not as entrepreneurial as it used to be. /.../"

Read more ( in Spanish)

Read the article in English



1 August 2020

Coronavirus L'analisi Caso Svezia fa discutere, per molti ha funzionato

An article published in Rai News quotes Lars Calmfors, IFN, on the economical effects of Sweden's Covid-19 strategy:

Lars Calmfors, professore emerito di economia internazionale e ricercatore presso l'Università di Stoccolma, ha affermato che è possibile che la Svezia abbia fatto meglio di altri Paesi, ma che è ancora troppo presto per dirlo. "Abbiamo chiuso meno di altri paesi, il che potrebbe far pensare che abbiamo fatto un po 'meglio finora. Ma tutto dipenderà da ciò che accadrà in autunno: abbiamo ridotto abbastanza la diffusione dell'infezione o aumenterà di nuovo? Se aumenta, la nostra economia ne risentirà."

Lars Calmfors, Emeritus Professor of International Economics and researcher at the University of Stockholm, said that it is possible that Sweden has done better economically than other countries, but that it is still too early to say. " We have closed down to a lesser extent than other countries, it might be the case that we have done a little better so far. But it will all depend on what will happen in the fall: have we succeeded in reducing the spread of the virus or will it increase again? If it increases, our economy will suffer."

Read more in Rai News

Read the piece in Terranostra News


Rai News, Terranostra News

28 July 2020

Hat es Schweden doch besser gemacht? Firmen legen überraschend gute Abschlüsse vor

Lars Calmfors, IFN, is referred to in an article about the economic consequences of Sweden's Covid strategy, published in several Swiss newspapers.

"Eine Studie des britischen Analyseunternehmens Capital Economics stimmte bereits letzte Woche optimistische Töne an und bezeichnete Schweden als «Besten in einer schlechten Clique». Dies aufgrund der Prognose, dass das schwedische Bruttonationalprodukt 2020 nur 1,5 Prozent sinke, während es für Dänemark und Norwegen 3, die Schweiz 5 und die Eurozone 7,5 Prozent seien.

«Viel zu optimistisch», nannte das allerdings der angesehene schwedische Ökonom Lars Calmfors, die Prognose beruhe zu stark auf dem ersten Quartal. Calmfors und viele andere Konjunkturforscher sehen einen Rückgang für Schweden um rund 5 Prozent für 2020 – etwa in der Grössenordnung wie die Nachbarländer, aber besser als Frankreich, Grossbritannien oder Italien."

Read the article here

Aargauer Zeitung, Oltner Tagblatt, Badener Tagblatt, Limmataler Zeitung

11 June 2020

„Ég gerði öllum ljóst að það var mjög rangt að gera þetta“

Lars Calmfors, IFN, is interviewed by the Icelandic newspaper Kjarninn on a political controversy. Lars Calmfors is one to the editors of the Nordic Economic Policy Review. When his successor was to be appointed, the well-known Icelandic scholar Thorvaldur Gylfason was suggested. However, the Icelandic Ministry of Finance opposed this appointment. Thorvaldur Gylafson is known to be an outspoken critic of previous Icelandic policies, that according to him, contributed to creating the Financial Crisis.

Lars Calmfors is very critical of the actions of the Icelandic Ministry of Finance:

"Lars Calmfors, a Swedish economics professor who was the editor of the NEPR scholarly journal, objected to the attitude of the Icelandic Ministry of Finance to Thorvald Gylfason. He says political arguments should have no bearing on the position." ( Translation from Icelandic)

Read the article here ( in Icelandic)



7 June 2020

Zweden deed het anders – en voelt nu de pijn

Lars Calmfors, IFN, is interviewed by the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad about Sweden and the Swedish approach to the pandemic:

Lars Calmfors is critical to Swedish politicians and their way of dealing with the outbreak:

"Maybe it will finally force us to think about our actions in this crisis." "Politics sat in the back seat" Calmfors accuses Swedish politics of staying in the back seat during this crisis."

Read the article ( in Dutch)

NRC Handelsblad

4 June 2020

How Global Trade Can Survive Carbon Border Adjustments

Henrik Horn, IFN, writes about Carbon Border Adjustments in the Milken Review:

"Putting a price on carbon emissions in order to internalize the externality is the economists’ go-to prescription for addressing global climate change. So it’s ironic that another orthodox economics prescription for societal welfare — free trade — appears to stand in the way of implementing the textbook climate solution. But there just might be a way to thread the needle to allow market-based solutions to reach their full climate mitigation potential."

Read the article

Milken Review

25 March 2020

Coronavirus : la Suède s’inquiète des risques sanitaires d’une dépression économique

Magnus Henrekson, IFN, is interviewed by Le Monde on the ongoing debate in Sweden regarding the economic aspects of the Corona Crisis.

"Directeur du Research Institute of Industrial Economics à Stockholm, l’économiste Magnus Henrekson fulmine : « Lors de la crise financière, au début des années 1990, nous avons perdu 600 000 emplois en trois ans. Nous pourrions en voir disparaître autant en trois mois. » Pour lui, le confinement généralisé est une aberration : « Si on ne revient pas rapidement à la normale, des milliers d’entreprises vont faire faillite, les gens vont perdre leur emploi définitivement et il ne restera plus grand­chose du secteur privé, ce qui va entraîner l’effondrement des recettes publiques. Il n’y aura plus d’argent pour financer les hôpitaux, ni pour aider les personnes qu’on veut protéger en se confinant. »"

"Director of the Research Institute of Industrial Economics in Stockholm, economist Magnus Henrekson fulminates:" During the financial crisis in the early 1990s, we lost 600,000 jobs in three years. We could see the same amount of jobs disappear in three months "For him, the general confinement is an aberration:" If we do not return quickly to normal, thousands of companies will go bankrupt, people will lose their jobs definitively and there will not be much left of the private sector, which will lead to the collapse of public revenues. There will be no more money to finance hospitals, nor to help the people we want to protect by confining ourselves. "

Read the article here



Le Monde
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