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The Role of the State in Employment and Welfare Regulation: Sweden in the European Context

  • Max Koch
Publishing year: 2016-12-01
Language: English
Pages: 243-262
Publication/Series: International Review of Social History
Volume: 61
Issue: Special issue 24
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Abstract english

This article examines the changing role of the Swedish state in employment
and welfare regulation in an environment that has become more market driven,
commodified, and Europeanized. It begins with a theoretical reflection on the role of the state in capitalist development and a review of the recent debate on the spatiality of state regulation: the state as employer, redistributor, and arbiter, and as a shaper of mployment relations and welfare. In the latter role, the state is conceptualized as employer, guarantor of employment rights, and procedural regulator, as intermediating neo-corporatist processes, as macroeconomic manager, and as welfare state. From this theoretical basis, the paper identifies changes in state employment and welfare regulation by comparing two periods: the original and mainly nationstate-based founding stage of the Swedish welfare and employment model as it developed after the 1938 Saltsjöbaden Agreement, and the period after Sweden’s accession to the European Union in 1995.


  • Social Work
  • state theory
  • employment
  • welfare
  • Sweden
  • EU


  • ISSN: 1469-512X
Max Koch
E-mail: max [dot] koch [at] soch [dot] lu [dot] se


School of Social Work

+46 46 222 12 68


School of Social Work
Lund University
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