In this article, we will undertake a long-term analysis of the evolution of the Swedish welfare state, seeking to explain that evolution through the use of a systemic approach. That is, our approach will consider the interrelations between economic growth (EG), the sociopolitical institutional framework (IF), and the welfare state (WS)-understood as a set of institutions embracing the labor market and its regulation, the tax system, and the so-called social wage-in order to find the main variables that elucidate its evolution. We will show that the expansive phase of the Swedish welfare state can be explained by the symbiotic relationships developed in the WS-EG-IF interaction, whereas the period of welfare state retrenchment is one result of changes operating within the sociopolitical IF and EG bases.
This study uses individual-level longitudinal data from Iceland, a country that experienced a severe economic crisis in 2008 and substantial recovery by 2012, to investigate the extent to which the effects of a recession on health behaviors are lingering or short-lived and to explore trajectories in health behaviors from pre-crisis boom, to crisis, to recovery. Health-compromising behaviors (smoking, heavy drinking, sugared soft drinks, sweets, fast food, and tanning) declined during the crisis, and all but sweets continued to decline during the recovery. Health-promoting behaviors (consumption of fruit, fish oil, and vitamins/minerals and getting recommended sleep) followed more idiosyncratic paths. Overall, most behaviors reverted back to their pre-crisis levels or trends during the recovery, and these short-term deviations in trajectories were probably too short-lived in this recession to have major impacts on health or mortality. A notable exception is for binge drinking, which declined by 10% during the 2 crisis years, continued to fall (at a slower rate of 8%) during the 3 recovery years, and did not revert back to the upward pre-crisis trend during our observation period. These lingering effects, which directionally run counter to the pre-crisis upward trend in consumption and do not reflect price increases during the recovery period, suggest that alcohol is a potential pathway by which recessions improve health and/or reduce mortality.