Arnold Kling  

The Idea of Sweden vs. Real Sweden

Rodrik Update... Some Bailout Commentary...

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COMMENTS (5 to date)
Yancey Ward writes:

The interesting bit to me was that rich or poor, most of your taxes come back to you in services subsidized by the government- healthcare, childcare, pensions, etc.

Also, Stefan Karlsson has dealt with some of this in his blog over the years.

Arvid Malm writes:

He is being overtly positive about the school market. Yes it is freer than most countries, but all schools are obligated to follow the national curriculum, and most schools are still operating under municipality which means they are as if state controlled, except by less competent people. Not to mention, the handling of post 9th grade eduaction is little more than and orgy in time and effort wasting chaos.

Ano writes:

Honestly, that video made me wish the U.S. were more like Sweden (leaving aside the particular quirks of their health care system).

That fiscal policy should be progressive by spending a lot on things poor people can't get (transit, education, health) rather than taxing the rich a lot, is a good idea that Matt Yglesias has talked about from time to time.

One difference: the author points out that Sweden has low corporate taxes and a low-ish top marginal rate because of mobile talent and capital. I think that logic applies to U.S. states, but as a nation with relatively low trade/GDP and a huge flexible internal labor market, I think we can get away with a LOT more taxing of corporations and high incomes than Sweden can.

George X writes:

Bear in mind that, with a population of 9.3 million, Sweden is more comparable to a U.S. state than to the U.S. as a whole — it would be the 10th-most-populous state, tied with North Carolina. There may be scale effects that let that kind of spending-through-the-government approach function tolerably well at the 10-million-people level, but not at the 300-million-people level.

Anyway, as Bjørn Stærk wrote: "Usually, any mention of Scandinavia is not actually about Scandinavia, it's about a local American issue on which Scandinavia can serve as a remote and non-factcheckable source of rhetorical ammunition."

Stefan Karlsson writes:

I see that Yancey Ward has already tipped about the fact that I have previously written about mispercercetions regarding Sweden. Personally I would say that there are two writings of particular interest. First of all, the one I wrote in 2006 just before the current center-right government was elected:

And then the article I wrote about the effects of the free market reforms of the Swedish government that was elected in 2006:

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