Association for research on nonprofit organisations and voluntary action

H. Thomas R. Persson (Oplægsholder)

Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragKonferenceoplæg


Paper: Unparalleled demand on the Swedish welfare regime and the social economy Abstract: The aim of this paper is to address the evolvement of the social economy in Sweden since the beginning of the most recent financial crises (2008-2009). To do so, two separate cases – the long-term unemployment and the unprecedented asylum-based immigration of 2015 – will be used to problematize the relationships between the government, institutions and the social economy. The title ‘Unparalleled demand on the Swedish welfare regime and the social economy’ is a reflection on the demand created by the steadily increasing number of long-term unemployed and far removed from the labour market, amongst which foreign born are overrepresented. In May 2015, the Swedish Unemployment Office prognosticated that long-term unemployed would make up 80 per cent of the total number of unemployed within five years time (Arbetsförmedlingen, 2015). However, the inability to foresee the dramatic increase in asylum-based immigration from an average of 4-5000 per month to 6,619 in June, 39,196 in October, and a total of 163,000 at the end of the year (Migrationsverket, 2016), meant that the prognosis was largely irrelevant from the very start. The existing welfare system and Migration Agency did not cope with the large number of asylum seekers arriving and had to be saved by numerous NGOs and volunteers providing people with food and blankets. Likewise, the sitting government continuously mentions the role of the social economy in the discourse on long-term unemployment. –How will this impact on the already strained relationship between the welfare system and the social economy? The chosen cases put this paper in the context of three different but interrelated research streams: labour market, immigration/integration and social economy research. Amongst the currently most central themes to Swedish labour market research one finds self-employment support for long-term unemployed (Caliendo & Künn, 2011; Andersson & Hammerstedt, 2015) and FAS 3, a highly criticized labour market programme and work/activation guarantee for long-term unemployed (+450 days) (Lundälv & Lundqvist, 2013). The focus on the asylum-based immigration of 2015, taking place in an already strained labour market situation, gives new urgency to integration research such as and Wiesbrock’s (2011) study on the discrepancy between Swedish integration policy – the benchmark for all other countries according to the Migration Policy Group – and practice. And subsequently, by marrying the field of labour market, integration and social economy research, this paper falls into the context of the research published by Chaves and Monzón (2012) on the role of the social economy after the financial crises of 2008-2009, but also Roy, Sato & Calo’s (2015) research on local embeddedness vs. institutionalisation in terms of the ambiguous relationships between state institutions and the social economy. The data – collected through semi-structured interviews with experts at Ministries, funding bodies, representatives from Intermediaries, and social entrepreneurs, accompanied by an analysis of documents and newspaper articles – will be analysed through a neo-institutionalist approach (Evans, Rueschemeyer & Skocpol, 2000; March & Olsen, 1989; Hall, 1993; 1997) emphasizing the way institutions structure problems, constraints and resources, as well as shaping the solutions adopted. On its on, this paper will improve the understanding of the evolvement of the Swedish social economy and the differentiated and changing relationships between the social economy and the state/regions/municipalities; and by comparing it to the other panel contribution it will enable us to identify possible convergences or divergences between the different national contexts.
Periode17. nov. 2016
BegivenhedstitelAssociation for research on nonprofit organisations and voluntary action: Policy & partnership in an era of change
PlaceringWashington, USA