Department of Economic History

Lund University School of Economics and Management

Three large research grants to EKH

Published: 2018-06-01

Erik Bengtsson, Mikolaj Malinowski and Sara Torregrosa Hetland recieved almost 4 milions SEK by Handelsbankens forskningsstiftelser

Erik Bengtsson received 1,7 million SEK for his project "The Swedish transition to equality: income inequality with new micro data, 1862–1970".

The purpose of this project is to uncover and analyze the long-run evolution of the Swedish income distribution, and its determinants. Sweden plays a special role in research on inequality and welfare states, since it was uniquely equal in the final third or so of the 20 century. It is, however, debated when, how and why this equality arose. The project proposes to resolve this issue by creating a new dataset of Swedish incomes for every tenth year from 1862 to 1970 (1862, 1870, 1880 and so on). The great strength of the dataset is that it encompasses all parts of the income distribution, not only top income earners; as it is, we only have full income information for Sweden going back to 1968.
The project is important since Sweden is such a critical case in the research debate on economic inequality, and we still have so little precise information about the development of income inequality historically. The project will contribute not only to our understanding of Sweden, but to inequality and its determinants generally.
The project utilizes a social tables approach which enables the analysis of historical income structures.

Mikolaj Malinowski received 1 million SEK for his project "Parliaments and prosperity. The impact of state capacity on economic growth in pre-1800 Europe".

Parliaments are vital for economic growth. However, not all parliamentary regimes succeed in promoting prosperity. We propose that to be able to promote growth, parliaments require legal and financial means to act. We compare four pre-1800 European parliamentary regimes. We collect a large body of new archival material on the capacity of British, Dutch, Polish, and Swedish parliaments to act. We also analyse how these institutions used this power by studying regulations and public spending listed in parliamentary acts. We are the first to systematically investigate if state capacity and parliamentary actions can explain the differences in economic growth in Europe before 1800.

Sara Torregrosa Hetland also received 1 million SEK for her project "Taxing for the welfare state: public finances and progressivity in the rise of social spending (1910-1970)".

This project will analyze the relation between the tax structure and the rise of welfare states between 1910 and 1970. The focus is on the distribution of the tax burden and the joint redistributive effects of public finances. By comparing five countries representing the different models of welfare states in the literature (France, Spain, Sweden, the US and the UK), we will establish the roles of progressive or regressive taxation in the growth of redistribution.

Congratulations to all three of you!


Erik Bengtsson
Associate Senior Lecturer
Profile in LU's research portal

Mikolaj Malinowski
Postdoctoral fellow
Profile in LU's research portal

Sara Torregrosa Hetland
Postdoctoral fellow
Profile in LU's research portal