Supply and Demand: Swedish Government Workers Edition

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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9 Responses

  1. Kolohe says:

    The real risk is that the public and private sectors end up competing for the same workers, she said.

    Oh my goodness, how horrible! Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria!

    eta – It seems to me a generous welfare state actually needs *less* staffing than a tightfisted one. If everyone is eligible based on a simple formula, you don’t need big bureacracies to determine who’s eligible.Report

    • Murali in reply to Kolohe says:

      Well if the public and private sectors compete for the same workers, their pays are going to become commensurate. For some reason, no one likes it when civil servants are paid as much as corporate executives. It offends them for some reason. They feel that public servants should do things out of a sense of public spirited-ness and draw only a nominal pay that could allow them to live comfortably. But, when the public sector competes with the private sector, public sector pay will skyrocket because as an organisation, the public sector is a larger organisation than the private sector and equivalent positions in larger organisations tend to pay more. Compare entry level accountant salaries in one of the big 4 with entry level salaries in a small accounting firm.Report

    • Mark Van H in reply to Kolohe says:

      But you need large bureaucracies to administer them. Plus you need more nurses, more doctors, more cleaning ladies, more cooks, more apothecaries, more nursing homes etcetera etcetera.

      Being tightfisted *might* mean a larger bureaucracy, but it cuts down on costs and the need for people in other areas, at least in the public sector.

      On a somewhat different note; The problem that the Swedes have is basically the problem all western social democracies have, namely a aging population, low replacement birthrates and a social system that was designed for the reverse situation. The fundamentals will require a upheaval of the system and serious slashing of benefits and privileges. Which the aging voting public won’t like. At all.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Mark Van H says:

        That I think is indeed the core issue, that the Bloomberg article kinda sorta alludes to, but the article is also kinda sorta a soup sandwich. (E.g. there’s going to be labor shortages due to immigration plummeting, but there’s also an increase in population due to immigration?)Report

  2. Dark Matter says:

    Sweden’s retirement age is 61.

    That’s probably the key issue right there.Report

    • Rapid aging is a key problem, which is covered in the linked articles. It also has a multiplying impact; you have an aging population, but also a vast number of those same government workers they are needing to replace, plus they will be drawing their government pensions/retirements, plus not enough workers to replace. It’s a common theme in many countries right now.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:


        Lots and lots of places are going to wish they’d had defined contribution rather than defined benefit pension plans. The later can easily end up with “future politicians will find the money” thinking, while the former puts pressure on politicians to fund programs up front.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter says:

      It wouldn’t be such a problem except for the whole Boomers thing.Report