Can China Learn from Sweden?

Arne Bigsten

Published: June 2007

China is undergoing a very rapid process of structural and institutional transformation, which has led to dramatic increases in income levels. During this process, the country is facing a series of development challenges that need to be dealt with in order to sustain growth. The question posed in this paper is whether China has anything to learn from the Swedish process of development, or the ‘Swedish Model’. The author first describes the emergence of the Swedish Model, and then summarises its main features and the various institutions, both economic and political, that have sustained it. He discusses governance issues, the welfare state, and policies towards the private sector. He contrasts the situation of China with that of Sweden, in order to try to ascertain whether an analysis of the Swedish Model gives insights that are of relevance to China.

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