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Articles by Calmfors

The case for numerical employment policy targets

September 28, 2020

High employment is an important objective for all governments. For an individual, having a job implies a higher income, and for society it implies that more needs are satisfied (Escudero and Liepmann 2020). Most people of working age attach a meaning to work in itself. High employment also contributes to social cohesion and is crucial for financing welfare state expenditures. Employment policy goals can be seen as intermediate goals that help achieve final objectives of social welfare.
Other goals of economic policy, such as fiscal and price stability objectives, are almost always specified numerically, whereas employment policy goals are usually formulated in more general terms. There are exceptions, however. Sweden has, from time to time, experimented with quantitative targets

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Assar Lindbeck, 1930-2020

September 8, 2020

Assar Lindbeck, who died on 28 August, aged 90, was for decades Sweden’s leading economist. As a research entrepreneur, he developed the Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) at Stockholm University to an internationally prominent research institution, he was instrumental in creating the Nobel Prize in economics, and he reformed and internationalised the country’s economics PhD teaching. His own research spanned monetary and fiscal policy, the welfare state, the importance of social norms and the labour market – and he also played a key role in both Swedish and international public debates on these issues. He always emphasised that economists should both do research at the international frontier and participate actively in the policy debate – and that these two

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