Stockholm university

Lars CalmforsProfessor Emeritus

About me

I am Professor Emeritus of International Economics at IIES and researcher at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics.  My main research has dealt with collective bargaining and wage setting, the determination of working time, labour market policy, macroeconomic policy and the EU monetary union. I was Professor of International Economics at IIES 1988-2015, deputy director there 1988-1995 and director 1995-97. I have been extensively involved in economic policy advising and economic policy debate in Sweden and internationally. I chaired the Economic Council of Sweden (giving scientific advice to the Swedish Ministry of Finance) 1993-2001, the Swedish Government Commission on the EMU (the Calmfors Commission) 1995-96, the Scientific Council of the Centre for Business and Policy Research (SNS) 1999-2006, the European Economic Advisory Group 2006-08, the Swedish Fiscal Policy Council 2007-11, and the Swedish Labour Policy Council 2015-18.  I was a member of the Council of the European Economic Association 1991-96, of the board of the Office for Labour Market Program Evaluation (IFAU) 1997-2004, of  the Committee for the Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 1996-98 and 2003-07, of the board of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2001-07, and of the Swedish Research Council 2007-12. I was awarded the Söderberg Prize in Economics 2003. In 2020-21 I was a member of the Finance Minister's reference group for economi covid issues and from 2022 I am a member of the Finance Minister´s Economic Council. Since 2011 I regularly write columns in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter. Last published book (in Swedish): In-between Research and Politics- 50 Years of Public Debate.



A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Does Active Labour Market Policy Work?

    2002. Lars Calmfors, Anders Forslund, Maria Hemström.


    The Swedish experiences of the 1990s provide a unique example of how large-scale active labour market programmes (ALMP's) have been used as a means to fight high unemployment. This paper discussses the mechanisms through which ALMPs affect (un)employment and surveys the empirical studies of the effects of ALMPs in Sweden. The main conclusions are: (i) there is hardly any evidence for a positive effect on matching efficiency; (ii) there are some indications of positive effects on labour force participation; (iii) subsidised employment seems to cause displacement of regular employment, whereas this appears not to be the case for labout market training; (iv) it is unclear whether or not ALMPs raise aggregate wage pressure in the economy; (v) in the 1990s, training programmes seem not to have enhanced the employment probabilities off participants, whereas some forms of subsidised employment seem to have had such effects; and (vi) youth programmes seem to have caused substantial displacement effects a the same time as the gains for participants appear uncertain.

    On the whole, ALMP's have probably reduced open unemployment, but also reduced regular employment. The overall policy conclusion is that ALMPs of the scale used in Sweden in the 1990s are not an efficient means of employment policy. To be effective, ALMPs should be used on a smaller scale. There should be a greater emphasis on holding down long-term unemployment in general and a smaller emphasis on youth programmes. ALMPs should not be used as a means to renew unemployment benefit eligibility.

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