Myrdal Prize awarded to Erik Prawitz


The Myrdal Award (Myrdalspriset) 2018 has been awarded to Erik Prawitz, IFN, and Mounir Karadja, Uppsala University, for the article "Emigration to America and the Swedish Workers' Movement" (Ekonomisk Debatt No. 8, 2018). The jury explains that the driving forces behind today's global migration flows can be compared to the emigration from Sweden from the 1880s until the First World War. Prawitz and Karadja find in their study that emigration had positive effects on the modernization of Sweden.

The Myrdals Prize is awarded every year by Swedbank to pay attention to this year's best article inEkonomisk Debatt, a journal published by the Swedish National Economic Society. The jury includes Professor Anna Dreber Almenberg, Professor John Hassler, editor Viktor Munkhammar and Swedbank's chief economist, Anna Breman, who is also the chairman of the prize jury.

The motivation of the jury:
War, famine, natural disasters, and poverty drive today's global migratory flows. These affect
political processes, the economic development and the labor markets in both the recipient and
originating countries. An important issue where the knowledge gaps are particularly large is how migration affects them
countries people emigrate from.

The driving forces behind migration have not changed, and we can, therefore, learn from history. Mounir
Karadja and Erik Prawitz use mass emigration from Sweden from the 1880s until the first
world war, when about a quarter of Sweden's population emigrated to the United States, to investigate its
political effects on the hometowns. The authors compare Swedish municipalities with different much emigration
with detailed statistics on emigrants. They find that municipalities with higher emigration are increasing
membership of unions, higher poverty care expenses and, to a greater extent, change to representative
democracy. In these respects, emigration had positive effects on the modernization of Sweden.

The article is well written and is based on high-quality data. The authors discuss in depth the difficulty
to identify causal relationships and to report alternative explanations to the results in a clear manner.
The research results are of great relevance to the current economic-political debate.

Read more about Erik Prawitz's research


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