Growth in the rest of industrial Europe and in the U. Table 1 Annual Economic Growth Rates per Capita in Industrial Nations and the World Economy, 1871-2005 Note: Rest of Nordic countries = Denmark, Finland and Norway.
Rest of Western Europe = Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
Furthermore, Scandinavian countries with resource bases such as Sweden and Finland had been rather disadvantaged as long as agriculture was the main source of income.
The shift to industry expanded the resource base and industrial development – directed both to a growing domestic market but even more to a widening world market – became the main lever of growth from the late nineteenth century. In many industrial areas Swedish companies took a position at the technological frontier from an early point in time.
Still there was per capita growth, but to some extent this was a recovery from the low levels during the Napoleonic Wars.
The acceleration during the next period around the mid-nineteenth century is marked in all aspects.
By the 1970s, however, the Swedish income level was more than three times higher than the global average and among the highest in Europe.
Figure 1 Swedish GDP per Capita in Relation to World GDP per Capita, 1870-2004 (Nine year moving averages) Sources: Maddison (2006); Krantz/Schön (forthcoming 2007). The annual variation in world production between Maddison’s benchmarks 1870, 19 is estimated from his supply of annual country series. Sweden was able to take advantage of technological and organizational advances made in Western Europe and North America.
This article presents an overview of Swedish economic growth performance internationally and statistically and an account of major trends in Swedish economic development during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Modern economic growth in Sweden took off in the middle of the nineteenth century and in international comparative terms Sweden has been rather successful during the past 150 years.