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Welfare and the Great RecessionA Comparative Study$
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Stefán Ólafsson, Mary Daly, Olli Kangas, and Joakim Palme

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198830962

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198830962.001.0001

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In Times of Two Crises

(p.228) 13 Sweden
Welfare and the Great Recession

Joakim Palme

Oxford University Press

The two crises examined by Joakim Palme in this chapter impacted differently on the level of living conditions in Sweden. The deep 1990s crisis had a broad-ranging effect on population hardship, while Great Recession effects were much more restricted. The effects of the 1990s crisis were partially affected by the retrenchment of social protection expenditures across the board. This indicates an emerging institutional deficit in relation to the ideal type of universalism often associated with the Swedish welfare state model. In contrast, there were no retrenchment effects on social protection systems as such during the Great Recession, but policy changes made beforehand had actually increased the identified universalism deficit further. This leaves the welfare state at another crossroads, particularly in light of the massive refugee migration that took place in 2015. Nevertheless, the Swedish welfare state managed to avert an increase of financial hardship during the Great Recession.

Keywords:   Sweden, two crises, retrenchment, welfare state model, social protection, avoiding hardship

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