Policy papers 2006–

This IFN series includes business-related and policy-relevant papers. The papers are not peer-reviewed nor written for later publication in scientific journals or anthologies. Policy Papers can be written in collaboration with organizations that have contacted individual researchers to see if they can write reports based on their research. However, the collaboration is based on the organization in question not being able to order research results. The series can also include articles in popular science journals reworked into more extended versions.

Only Policy Papers in English are listed on this page. The complete list of Policy Papers can be found on our Swedish page.


89. The Value Added of Internationella Engelska Skolan

Gabriel Heller Sahlgren and Henrik Jordahl

This report is the first step in a research project with the intent to calculate the value added of as many schools as possible in Sweden. In the future, similar studies analysing other schools, both independent and municipal, will be conducted. The project is funded through the research program The Economics of the Service Sector as well as by schools participating in the project, including Internationella Engelska Skolan and Kunskapsskolan.​ 

The Swedish education system lacks rigorous measures of school quality. This is problematic since a well-functioning education market requires that parents make informed school choices. Appropriate performance metrics are also needed for accountability purposes and for ensuring that authorities and operators can identify and rectify problems.

This report presents the value added of Internationella Engelska Skolan. The value-added scores are based on year 9 national test performance in English, mathematics, and Swedish in the 2018/19 school year, and are computed at the student level using data from Statistics Sweden. 

Value-added scores measure the extent to which schools’ students perform better on national tests in year 9 than what is expected, given their test scores in year 6 as well as their background characteristics. The results suggest that Internationella Engelska Skolan has higher value-added scores than other Swedish schools on average.

86. Wage Policies and the Integration of Immigrants

Simon Ek and Per Skedinger

This is an extended version of an article published in the anthology Integrating Immigrants into the Nordic Labour Markets, Calmfors. L. and Sánchez Gassen, N. (eds.),  Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen, 2019.

Most Nordic countries struggle with the integration of low-skilled immigrants. Relying on research from primarily the Nordics, we discuss to what extent minimum wage reductions can improve labour market prospects for immigrants, whether unskilled and low-pay jobs serve as stepping stones to more qualified and higher-paid jobs and how wages of incumbent workers would be affected by lower minimum wages. We argue that targeted minimum wage reductions aimed at new, previously non-existing jobs and increased differentiation of minimum wages according to experience provide an appropriate balance between the conflicting goals of high employment and low wage inequality. 

75. Labour Markets in Finland and Sweden:
A Swedish Perspective

Per Skedinger

This is an English version of the article  ”Työmarkkinat Suomessa ja Ruotsissa – ruotsalainen näkökulma”, published in Talous & Yhteiskunta, no 2, 10–17, 2016, issued by the Labour Institute for Economic Research, Helsinki.

Labour market institutions in Finland and Sweden have many features in common. The many similarities have inspired a joint Finnish-Swedish research project on the effects of these institutions. Finland has experienced a prolonged economic downturn and Sweden’s system of wage bargaining has been suggested as a model for Finland. Aggregate wage formation has worked well in Sweden, but relative wage formation markedly less so and the effects of local bargaining are not clear.     

Link to the article in Finnish

73. The Turnaround of the Swedish Economy: Lessons from Large Business Sector Reforms

Fredrik Heyman, Pehr-Johan Norbäck and Lars Persson

How can a country improve the productivity growth in its business sector and reach its growth potential?

Sweden during the 1970–2010 period can serve as an example to help other countries understand how to efficiently reform a business sector. In the 1990s, Sweden implemented a reform package that ignited a successful reorganization of a business sector that had faltered for decades. To understand the economic forces behind this process, we first survey the industrial restructuring literature and then examine the reform package using Swedish matched plant-firm-worker data.

The removal of barriers to growth for new and productive firms and increased rewards for investment in human capital were crucial to the success of Sweden’s reforms. We also discuss how the reform experience of a developed country such as Sweden can be useful for developing countries that are in the process of transforming their business sectors.

Our findings suggest that policymakers have much to learn from country case studies and that the Swedish experience can be a valuable case study for developing countries that are attempting to promote growth by developing their business sectors.

63. Institutions, Policies and Growth in Europe: Quality versus Stability

Niclas Berggren, Andreas Bergh and Christian Bjørnskov

What triggers growth? How can the EU Member States ensure conditions that have a proven positive effect on growth? These questions are relevant, not least considering the recent financial and economic crisis which represents the deepest downturn in world economy since Second World War. How important are institutions – that is to say, formal rules and capacity to enforce those rules – for the economic performance of a country?

Although today we have access to an extensive body of research on the quality of institutions, the authors of this report add new insights by studying the effect of the stability of institutions on economic growth.

62. Dynamic Labor Markets: Organizing Labor Markets to Boost Job Opportunities and Social Welfare

Magnus Henrekson

Economic growth largely comes about through a process of extensive churning and restructuring, most of which is a shift from less to more successful firms within narrowly defined industries. In order to increase aggregate employment by, say, two per cent in a year, it may be necessary to create 7 to 10 times as many jobs, and worker flows need to be substantially larger still. Capitalism can be seen as a process of creative destruction where novel ideas continuously challenge old structures, thereby giving rise to structural transformation when new successful innovations, products, firms and industries arise while obsolete ones decline and exit. Empirical studies point out high-growth firms to be the main drivers of this process.

Research shows that high-growth firms can grow more in line with their inherent potential if labor markets are less regulated. Labor market institutions favoring reallocation and dynamism include portability of tenure rights, fully actuarial and portable pension plans, a full decoupling of health insurance from the current employer, decentralized and individualized wage-setting arrangements and government income insurance systems that encourage activation, mobility and risk-taking.

41. Privatization: Is Dismantling Public Authority an International Trend?

Henrik Jordahl

Despite recent government bailouts of private industry, stimulus packages, and state-led restructuring of companies, economic and academic trends toward privatization continue, with public opinion generally supportive or neutral toward privatization. It is important to realize that privatization does not necessarily imply the dismantling of public authority. Privatization and nationalization can and do coincide, and it is likely that we will see more of both in the near future.

29. Trade and FDI: Substitutability vs. Complementarity Revisited

Pehr-Johan Norbäck and Dieter Urban

This study examines how Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and international trade are related, examining the impact of a growing and increasingly integrated world economy on Swedish exports and the foreign affiliate production of Swedish multinational firms.

24. Limping on Three Legs: The Development of Timor-Leste

Mats Lundahl and Fredrik Sjöholm

Timor-Leste is plagued by poor economic development and widespread political turmoil. Any substantial improvement in living standards requires the emergence of a modern sector. People must be given the opportunity to move out of agriculture where marginal productivity levels are very low and into an expanding modern sector.

19. Competition in TV-Distribution – A Framework and Applications to Sweden

Mats Bergman and Johan Stennek

This report investigates how well competition in the TV-industry works, primarily focusing on distribution. For this purpose we suggest a framework of analysis and, at the same time, we apply this framework to the Swedish market.

18. Non-discrimination

Henrik Horn and Petros C. Mavroidis

Two non-discrimination principles underlie the World Trade Organization Agreement, as well as many regional trade agreements. The "Most Favored Nation" clause (MFN) essentially requires that equal treatment be afforded to all imported goods, irrespective of their origin, as long as they are "like". The other non-discrimination principle, the "National Treatment" obligation (NT), requests importing countries to treat imported goods no less favorably than domestically produced "like" products. This note presents some basic law and economics of these provisions.

17. Ageing, pension reforms and capital market development in the new EU member states and other transition countries

Johan Almenberg and Christiane Nickel

We present new data on asset allocations of mandatory pension funds in the new EU member states and in other transition countries. Our comparative national data presents a unique opportunity to compare pension reform progress across these countries from a capital market perspective. Our main finding is that in a number of new EU member states and other transition countries, under-diversification of assets threatens to undermine the impact of multi-pillar reform on fiscal sustainability.

12. Protection of Property Rights and Growth as Political Equilibria

Andrea Asoni

This paper presents a survey of the literature on property rights and economic growth. It discusses different theoretical mechanisms that relate property rights to economic development.

11. Competition Economics

Johan Stennek

Imagine that you are advising a client on a planned merger with one of their competitors. Informal communication with the competition authority reveals that they are worried that the merger will reduce competition and harm the consumers. There is a clear risk that the whole project will be stopped. How could you help your client? How would you go about predicting the effects of the merger? Will price go up, as the competition authority fears, or is it possible that the merger will lead to lower prices instead? How could anyone know the effects in advance, before the merger has taken place?

3. Has U.S. Antitrust Policy Protected Consumers from the Abuse of Market Dominance?

Robert W. Crandall

Among the United States’ most important exports are its market-oriented economic policies. The privatization and de-regulation of the transportation and communications sectors come quickly to the mind of this student of economic regulation. But why should the EU or other countries, for that matter, wish to emulate U.S. antitrust (competition) policy?

2. New Rules for Dominant Firms in Europe

Mattias Ganslandt

The Commission has initiated a discussion about the application of the European competition rules for dominant firms. It recently published a Staff Discussion Paper which outlines some basic principles and raises a number of important questions, in particular related to the assessment of “exclusionary practices”

Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State


This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

About the book


Seminars organized by IFN


To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

Academically oriented seminars are most of the time held on Wednesdays at 10 am. At these events researchers from IFN and other institutions present their research.

In addition, IFN organizes seminars open to the public. Topics for these are derived from the IFN research.

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