EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

The economic effects of the 1920 eight-hour working day reform in Sweden

Erik Bengtsson and Jakob Molinder ()

Scandinavian Economic History Review, 2017, vol. 65, issue 2, 149-168

Abstract: In 1920, the working day in Swedish manufacturing and services was cut from 10 to 8 hours without wages being cut correspondingly. Since workers demanded and got the same daily wage working 8 hours as they had with 10, real hourly wages increased dramatically; they were about 50% higher in 1921–1922 than they had been in 1919. This is the largest wage push in Swedish history, and this paper studies the consequences for profits, investments, capital intensity and unemployment. In traded manufacturing employers responded by increasing capital intensity and did not compensate for rising wages by raising prices, which led to a combination of jobless growth and low profit rates in the 1920s. Firms in non-traded manufacturing and services could raise prices and conserve profitability to a higher degree. In total, the effects of the reform were pro-labour. We discuss the implications for our understanding of interwar wages and employment, the literature on the decrease in inequality found in most industrial countries around 1920 and the rise of the ‘Swedish model’ in the 1920s and 1930s.

Date: 2017
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (6) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/03585522.2017.1290673 (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:taf:sehrxx:v:65:y:2017:i:2:p:149-168

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/sehr20

DOI: 10.1080/03585522.2017.1290673

Access Statistics for this article

Scandinavian Economic History Review is currently edited by Espen Ekberg and Francisco Beltran Tapia

More articles in Scandinavian Economic History Review from Taylor & Francis Journals
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Chris Longhurst ().

 
Page updated 2020-10-18
Handle: RePEc:taf:sehrxx:v:65:y:2017:i:2:p:149-168