Historical labour markets

The study of labour markets in a historical perspective reveals comprehensive structural change and enormous progress regarding the compensation of labour with implications for economic growth and individual well-being.

Historical labour markets deals with the functioning of the labour market (e.g. wage formation, labour supply and the demand for labour), labour market outcomes for different groups and related gaps, and labour market policy and institutions. The research is both macro- and micro-oriented, with an emphasis on large databases and quantitative methodological approaches.

We study labour force participation; productivity; wages; skill formation and careers; work-family compatibility; immigrant integration, and labour market policy and institutions in past and present contexts, often from a gender perspective.

By linking the past to the present, we may better understand labour market issues of current, and even future, concern

Our research aims to improve knowledge and understanding of the functioning of labour markets; the evolution of labour force participation, unemployment and leisure; gender and immigrant gaps; and the role of policy and institutions by drawing on historical experiences. By linking the past to the present, we may better understand labour market issues of current, and even future, concern.

Our research has mainly been funded by external grants from, for example: the Swedish Research Council (VR), the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare (Forte), the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, and the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation (Handelsbankens forskningsstiftelse).

Examples of ongoing projects

  • Manufacturing gender inequality
  • Stronger together? A micro-history of collective action and working life in turn of the last century Sweden
  • Longer working lives and unpaid care
  • Female Empowerment and Economic Growth: The Case of Sweden 1749–2016
  • From Sundsvall to Saltsjöbaden: A Regional Approach to Strikes and Protests in the Swedish Labor Market


Maria Stanfors
Professor, vice dean ekonomihögskolan, pro dean, professor, professor, professor

Phone: +46 46 222 41 16, +46 46 222 08 34

Maria Stanfors

Kirk Scott
Professor, professor, professor

Phone: +46 46 222 71 81
Room: Alfa1:2024

Last published: 2021-04-09