New book on Sweden’s monetary and financial history

Friday 23 April will see the publication of a new book of statistics concerning the growth of the Swedish monetary system, Historical Monetary and Financial Statistics for Sweden: Exchange rates, Prices and Wages, 1277–2008.


The book is the first of two volumes and focuses on exchange rates, consumer prices and wages. In this first volume, researchers from Göteborg, Lund and Stockholm discuss earnings from the Middle Ages until the present century. The data presented includes a consumer price index stretching back to 1290. This index indicates that the century experiencing the highest rate of inflation was the 1500s, followed by the 1900s. Considered in a longer historical perspective, the international performance of the Swedish currency has been weak. Throughout history, commitments to a stable currency have repeatedly been made, but major events such as wars and severe economic crises have often, although far from always, led to the breaking of these promises. As regards wage trends, the historical series indicate that real wages for a worker were higher during the Middle Ages than in the mid-1800s. Since the 1800s, wage differences between men and women have decreased. However, these differences have remained stable since the end of the 1970s.


The book will be presented at a seminar to be held at the Riksbank at 10.00 on Friday 23 April. First Deputy Governor Svante Öberg will open the seminar. Following this, Rodney Edvinsson, associate professor in Economic History at Stockholm University and one of the book’s editors, will give a more detailed presentation of the book’s contents. Finally, Øyvind Eitrheim, director of research at Norges Bank, will comment on the book’s contributions to science, drawing comparisons with equivalent Norwegian projects. The seminar will be open to the media.


The book, to be published by the Riksbank together with Ekelid Publishing House (Ekelids Förlag AB), forms part of a more comprehensive project that has previously resulted in a database of historical monetary statistics which can be found on the Riksbank's website. A second volume is expected to be published within two years and will examine central government debt, money supply, stock returns and interest rates during an equivalent period of time. Further ahead, historical series of property prices, the banking sector and the Riksbank's accounts will also be published.

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