Headlines 2016

The Almedalen Week: Interaction between research and policy


Andreas Bergh, IFN and Lund University, discussing immigration and trust with Susanne Wallman Lundåsen, Mid Sweden University and Ersta Sköndal University College and Andreas Johansson Heino, Timbro.

During the Almedalen Week July 3–10, a number of IFN-researchers participated in seminars and other events. Andreas Bergh, IFN and Lund University,  participated in a seminar organized by the think tank Fores, ”Ökad invandring – hur påverkas social tillit?”(The impact of increased immigrationon on social trust?) Lars Calmfors, Mårten Blix and Therese Nilsson also attended events at the beginning of the week.

Andreas Bergh opened the Fores seminar by running through for available research on immigration and trust. He referred to a Danish study showing that Turks in Denmark are more trusting than their compatriots who remain in Turkey. But, at the same time they are less trusting than Danes in general. The same applies to Pakistanis and Bosnians living in Denmark.

“In Sweden, we know that in areas with many newly arrived, people are less trusting. But we do not know if it is only immigration as such that contributes to this. It may also be a question of for example education,” said Bergh. He explained that we humans tend to have a negative default and so we worry that social trust will be wiped out:

“People realize that trust is valuable and their concern that it could vanish is certainly justified. But we must be careful so that it does not become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Bergh. Speaking of corruption in Sweden he explained that it is "devastating to the confidence that neither market forces nor equal treatment are in control of the housing market and the labor market. It often requires contacts to get jobs and housing."


Lars Calmfors2.jpgLars Calmfors in Almedalen.

Lars Calmfors, IFN, participated in the Centre Party's economic seminar in Almedalen. The seminar was referenced by the Swedish News Agency TT. He was also part of a panel at a seminar organized by Plåt- och Ventföretagen (Employers' organization for Plate and Ventilation companies). The title was”Leder lägre ingångslöner till ökad sysselsättning?” (Do lower initial salaries multiply employment?)

At both seminars Lars Calmfors  explained:

“It is difficult to say whether wages in general will be pushed downward [if lower initial salaries are introduced for less complicated jobs], but the alternative to regulated lower initial salaries are a growing black market. And nobody wants that.”

Calmfors pointed out that such a controlled transition "should be in the union's interest."


Mårten Blix.jpgMårten Blix, center, discussing digitization in a panel with Daniel Forslund (L), innovation counselor in Stockholm and Sara Öhrvall, senior adviser Mindmill Network.

At the beginning of the Almedalen Week Mårten Blix participated in two different seminars on digitization.
One was organized by Länsförsäkringar and one by the newspaper Dagens Medicin. During the latter, titled”Här skapas värdet av digital teknik i den svenska vården” (Creating value of digital technology in the Swedish health care), the theme was how the healthcare sector can and should be able to make use of digitalization and automation. A report by the management company McKinsey was presented.

“We have had a 30 year period with a sharp rise in healthcare standards,” Blix said, wondering how we can achieve the same for the future.

“It is a good starting point to look at different avenues and ways to save. But digitalization should be not only being an issue of saving but also how to raise the standards."

Blix said that one obstacle that might prevent the healthcare sector to benefit from digitization "is that projects are not scaled up". Doing it locally and only on a limited basis is ever so often cost driving. In this assertion he was supported by Sara Öhrvall, senior advisor, Mindmill Network, who stated that digitalization requires both centralization and collaboration.

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