Digitalization, Immigration and the Welfare State

New Thinking in Political Economy series

Mårten Blix, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Sweden

The Swedish welfare state finds itself in the middle of two major upheavals: The impact of technology and immigration. Having taken in more refugees per capita than most other countries, the pillars of the welfare state are being shaken. Digital technologies are set to strengthen already existing trends towards job and wage polarization. This book explores how these trends are more pronounced due to the rigidity of the labor market and the comprehensiveness of tax-financed welfare services.

‘Blix’s book has significant takeaways for those interested in the state of play of Sweden’s economic model and, more broadly, the challenges faced by welfare states within the OECD context. It also provides some illuminating insights for those wishing to understand how the emerging digital economy mingles with (and disturbs) more traditional labour markets.’
– Rose Deller, LSE Review of Books

‘Just finished reading Mårten Blix’s brilliant book on digitilization and the welfare state. Warmly recommended!’
– Carl Benedikt Frey, University of Oxford, UK

‘Using the economic and social laboratory of Sweden, Mårten Blix provides a fascinating window into the future of the welfare state with the threats and opportunities from a massive increase in immigration and rapid digitilisation of the economy. The Swedish Model’s core features of collective bargaining, broad unionisation and a strong fiscal base are eroding, increasing inequality and challenging the legitimacy of the political consensus to date. His interesting observations and balanced analysis of the growing importance of platform-based jobs and life-long learning have implications much beyond Sweden.’
– Erik Berglöf, London School of Economics, UK

‘The famous Swedish Model of the welfare state is at a turning point as the pressures of technological change, income inequality and high levels of immigration meet the constraints of the country's inflexible labour and housing markets. Mårten Blix argues in this incisive book that, with its sound public finances and high levels of trust, Sweden is well placed to respond to the pressures, and he describes a route through these challenges; but it will require some profound institutional changes. The Swedish Model of the future will have to look very different if it is to succeed.’
– Diane Coyle, University of Manchester, UK

‘While the treatment of a Citizen's Income is inadequate, this is a most useful book and particularly useful is its focus on Sweden.’
– Citizen's Income

2018 200 pp Paperback 978 1 78897 411 0 £27.00 £21.60 $41.95 $33.56
2017 200 pp Hardback 978 1 78643 294 0 £75.00 £67.50 $110.00 $99.00

Elgaronline 978 1 78643 295 7

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