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The big picture: a historical national accounts approach to growth, structural change and income distribution in Sweden 1870-1990
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One fundamental point of departure for this thesis is the importance of addressing all three basic economic research questions: what is produced, with what and for whom and including them in the discussion regarding long-term macroeconomic performance. This could also be stated as that a consistent historical national accounts approach where both aspects of production and distribution are included can significantly enhance the research on macroeconomic historical issues.

Built upon this foundation, the objective of this thesis is twofold. To begin with, the objective includes the broadening of the empirical database of the Swedish historical national accounts (SHNA) with accounts for the process involving the horizontal distribution of income.

The second objective of this thesis consists of conducting analyses of the Swedish macroeconomic devel­opment using the extended database of the SHNA. An important aspect of the analytical objective involves the exploration of methods that had not widely been applied in Swedish economic historical research. Thus, great emphasis is placed on the methodology used in the analyses of macroeconomic development.

These two main objectives forni the disposition of the thesis. The first empirical part consists of work with income accounts in the SHNA. This work has resulted in the establishment of a set of income accounts concur­ring with the procedure recommended in the contemporary national accounting system. In the second part of the thesis, selected macroeconomic issues are examined using the extended SHNA database.

The first analysis consists of a closer examination of the presence of periodization patterns in Swedish growth and structural change. In this chapter an analysis based on structural time series models is applied to the SHNA series. The main results of this chapter is that the time series on growth and structural change reveal a pattern that not unconditionally is consistent with the prevailing periodisation pattern recognised in Swedish economic-historical research. Instead, the development pattern reveals features found in international research.

The next analysis is concerned with the role of specific institutions for contributing to the slow-down in growth that occurred from the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In this chapter the importance of the corporate tax system, investment funds and the public pension funds for the efficiency of the resource alloca­tion process is examined. The hypothesis that is examined is that these institutional arrangements altered the distribution of income in such a way that the investment allocation was disturbed and thereby leading to ineffi­ciencies that affected long-term growth negatively. This hypothesis is supported by empirical evidence on changes in the income distribution and changes in long-term rates of growth and structural change. Thus, the investigated institutional arrangements to a certain extent had a negative effect on the Swedish economic per­formance during the 1960s to the 1980s.

In the final analytical chapter, the objective is mainly methodological. Here, the focus is on the potential application of CGE-models as a tool for examining Swedish macroeconomic history. A fairly straightforward CGE-model is formulated for the period 1910 to 1930 and estimated using the broadened SHNA. The predic­tions of the model are evaluated against the actual historical development in order to assess the performance of the model. As the model formulated in this chapter generates accurate prediction of the main macroeconomic indicators, it is subsequently used in a counterfactual analysis of the impact of total factor productivity growth on the overall growth performance.

In summary, the thesis demonstrates that much can be achieved in the research on the Swedish macroeco­nomic development by utilizing new theoretical approaches and applying state of the art analysis methods as a complement to the structural analytical research that has been conducted previously. However, much research is still required, especially on the improvement of the macroeconomic database where one priority is to create detailed and consistent input-output tables and social accounting matrices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2002. , 260 p.
Umeå studies in economic history, ISSN 0347-254X ; 26
Keyword [en]
historical national accounts, growth, structural change, income distribution, Sweden, macroeconomic history, CGE, structural time series models.
National Category
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-59808ISBN: 91-7305-321-X (print)OAI: diva2:556806
Available from: 2012-09-26 Created: 2012-09-26 Last updated: 2016-04-28Bibliographically approved

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