Conflict or Cross-Class Alliance? New Perspectives on the Swedish Model in the Labor Market from the 1930s to the 1970s

  • Joacim Waara University of Gothenburg


A number of studies over the past decades find that the Swedish model in the labor market was based on a cross-class alliance between workers and employers. There is, however, reason to question this conclusion. By focusing on bargaining power, conflict of interest in the labor market and employers’ attempts to protect their interests, this article shows that the Swedish model in the labor market to a large extent was based on conflict rather than consensus. Thus, employers felt involuntarily forced to accept a rapid increase in real wages and a long-term wage convergence from the 1930s until the early 1970s.