Stockholm university logo, link to start page

Tomas KorpiProfessor

About me


Research and teaching
Research interests focus on processes related to mobility and inequality on the labor market. This spans both macro level events such as industrial restructuring and globalization as well as micro level processes such as the psychology of unemployment and skill match. It also includes the relationship between inequality and public policy, primarily in the form of education and labor market programs.

Previously Director of Undergraduate Studies for SOFI's program in Labor Relations and Human Resource Management (AKPA). Teaching currently involves undergraduate courses in labor economics. Previous teaching include undergraduate and graduate level courses in comparative industrial relations, public policy and social stratification as well as in quantitative methods.

Other professional appointments

Member of the scientific advisory board of the Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy (IFAU)

Member of the scientific advisory board of the Swedish National Audit Office (Riksrevisionen)


Currently principal investigator (PI) for the project "Unions and the Educational Wage Premium: Collective Bargaining and Wage Inequality in the Knowledge Economy" funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ, grant no. P22-0697). Declining unionization has led to rising wage inequality. While most analyses of union effects have focused on low-wage workers, increasing wage inequality has also included growing differences between college and non-college educated workers. The role of unions, and wage bargaining more generally, in shaping these educational wage premium has however so far remained unexplored. This project, initated in 2023, aims to examine these issues using a comparative approach, relating changes in the educational wage premium between 2002 and 2020 to changes in union membership composition, union organizational structure, and wage bargaining structure in a selection of industrialized countries.

Also participating in the project "Student funding, welfare, and participation in higher education" funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte, grant no. 2022-750). This project, which also started in 2023, will study the relationship between student funding policy, viz. the distribution of study costs between state, families and students, and outcomes with regard to participation in higher education, students’ living conditions, and study outcomes. This project is also comparative, focusing on Europe between 2005 and 2020.

Recently completed projects include the collaborative project "Technological inequality – understanding the relation between recent technological innovations and social inequalities" (Technequality, funded by the European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 framework program. This project focused on if and how recent technological innovations may changed the size and nature of social inequalities, and how institutional variations may generate differences in these changes across countries.  Another example of a recent project is "Beyond good examples: Analyses of local variation in measures aimed at youths not in employment, education, or training" funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE, grant no. 2017-457) and supported by the Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy (IFAU) (project no. 218/2018). The project aimed to examine the extent to which differences in the content of local NEET measures, their governance and functioning at the local level contribute to the variation in NEET rates across Sweden.

Work in progress
  • Education Expansion, Technical Change, and Job Complexity
  • Skill mismatch in Europe: Educational attainment, educational expansion and skill utilization
  • The importance of territorial capacity for local variation of NEET rates
  • Complementary policy fields in action: Local policies targeted at multi-prolem NEETs

Selected publications

Skills and macro-level economic inequality. In M. Tåhlin (ed.), A research agend on skills and inequality (2023), Cheltenham, UK: Elgar (with M. Tåhlin and J. Westerman)

Local governance assisting vulnerable groups: The case of youths not in employment, eduction and training (NEETs) in Sweden. International Journal of Social Welfare (2022) (with C. Mellberg, R. Minas, and L. Andersson) (download)

On-the-job training: A skill match approach to the determinants of lifelong learning. Industrial Relations Journal (2021), 52: 64-81 (with M. Tåhlin) (download)

The Social Policy Indicators (SPIN) database. International Journal of Social Welfare (2020), 29: 285-289 (with D. Fredriksson, W. Korpi, K. Nelson, J. Palme, and O. Sjöberg) (download)

Student support and tuition fee systems in comparative perspective. Studies in Higher Education (2020),  46: 2152-2166 (with K. Czarnecki and K. Nelson) (download)

Immigration and integration policy and labour market attainment among immigrants to Scandinavia. European Journal of Population (2019), 35: 305-328 (with V. Jacobsen and T. Lorentzen) (download)

The Governance of Poverty: Welfare Reform, Activation Policies, and Social Assistance Benefits and Caseloads in Nordic Countries. Journal of European Social Policy (2018), 28: 487-500 (with R. Minas, V. Jacobsen, T. Lorentzen, T. Kauppinen) (download)

Att möta globaliseringen: Utbildning, aktivering och social exkludering i Norden. TemaNord 2015:534, (2015), Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers (with O. Bäckman and R. Minas) (download)

Rescaling inequality? Welfare reform and local variation in social assistance payments. In K. Farnsworth et al. (eds.), Social Policy Review 26 (2014), Bristol: Policy (with R. Minas, O. Bäckman, V. Jacobsen, T. Lorentzen and T. Kauppinnen)

A Capital-Labor Accord on Financialization? The Growth and Impact of Alternative Investment Funds in Sweden. In H. Gospel et al. (eds.), Financialisation, New Investment Funds, and Labour: An International Comparison (2014), Oxford: Oxford University Press

Importing Skills: Migration Policy, Generic Skills and Earnings among Immigrants in Australasia, Europe and North America. In J. Leschke et al. (eds.), Migration and Labour Markets in Troubled Times: Skills Mismatch, Return Migration and Policy Responses (2012), Surrey: Ashgate (download WP version)

Changing Work-Life Inequality in Sweden: Globalization and other Causes. In H.-P. Blossfeld et al. (eds.), Globalized Labour Markets and Social Inequality in Europe: A Comparative Analysis (2011), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (with M. Tåhlin)

Globalization and Uncertainty. Earnings and Employment Volatility in Sweden, 1985-2003. Industrial Relations (2010), 49: 165-189 (with M. Hällsten and M. Tåhlin) (download)

Sweden. In H. Gospel et al. (eds.), The impact of investment funds on restructuring practices and employment levels (2010), Dublin: Eurofound (download)

Educational Mismatch, Wages, and Wage Growth: Overeducation in Sweden 1974 - 2000. Labour Economics (2009), 16: 183-193 (with M. Tåhlin) (download)

The Accumulation of Social Problems: Multiple Deprivation in Sweden 1974 - 2000. International Journal of Social Welfare (2007), 16: S91-S104 (with K. Nelson and S.-Å. Stenberg) (download)

The Impact of Globalization on Mens' Job Mobility in Sweden. In H.-P. Blossfeld et al. (eds.), Globalization, Uncertainty and Men's Careers: An International Comparison (2006), London: Elgar (with M. Tåhlin)

Women’s Employment in Sweden: Globalization, Deindustrialization, and the Labor Market Experiences of Swedish Women 1950 – 2000. In H.-P. Blossfeld and H. Hofmeister (eds.), Globalization, Uncertainty, and Women’s Careers: An International Comparison (2006), Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar (with C. Stern)

Training Systems and Labor Mobility: A Comparison between Germany and Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Economics (2003), 105: 597–617 (with A. Mertens) (download)

Vocational Training and Career Employment Precariousness in Great Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden. Acta Sociologica, (2003) 46: 17 – 30. (with P. De Graaf, J. Hendrickx, and R. Layte) (download)

Precarious Footing: Temporary Employment as a Stepping Stone out of Unemployment in Sweden. Work, Employment and Society (2001), 15: 127–148 (with H. Levin) (download)

Good Friends in Bad Times: Social Networks and Job Search among Unemployed in Sweden. Acta Sociologica (2001), 44: 157–170 (download)

Accumulating Disadvantage: Longitudinal Analyses of Unemployment and Physical Health in a Representative Sample of the Swedish Population. European Sociological Review (2001), 17: 255–273 (download)

Is Utility related to Employment Status? Employment, Unemployment, Labor Market Policies, and Subjective Well-being among Swedish Youth. Labour Economics (1997), 4: 125-147 (download)

Effects of Manpower Policies on Duration Dependence in Re-employment rates: The example of Sweden. Economica (1995), 62: 353-371 (download)

Research projects