Public Employment, Taxes and the Welfare State in Sweden
NBER Working Paper No. 5003
All employment growth in Sweden since the early 1960's is attributable to labor market entry of women, working in local public sector jobs that implement the Welfare State. Sweden has 'monetized' or 'nationalized' the family. Women are paid at public expense to provide household services for other families. Subsidizing purchased household services encourages labor force participation of women through substitution of market- for self-provided services. It also reduces the marginal cost prices of household goods and encourages substitution of household goods for material goods. A kind of social cross-hauling occurs: when subsidies are increased and taxes raised to finance them, production of material goods declines and production of household goods increases. Women enter the market and work more in each other's households and less in the material goods sector. Efficiency distortions of current child policies in Sweden may be as large as half of total expenditures on childcare. The current 90% subsidies to public childcare probably involve large deadweight losses. A one percent decline in the rate of subsidy accompanied by balanced budget tax decreases would reduce the deadweight losses of tax distortions by one percent, at current policy levels.
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