Erik Bengtsson


NEW WORKING PAPER. "Mercantilist Inequality: Wealth and Poverty in Stockholm 1650-1750", with Mats Olsson and Patrick Svensson. Read here. (December 2019).

NEW ARTICLE: "The wealth of the Swedish peasant farmer class (1750–1900): composition and distribution", with Patrick Svensson, published in Rural History vol. 30 issue 2. Read here, open access (September 2019)

NEW WORKING PAPER: "Reconsidering the role of farmer politics in Swedish democratization", read here (August 2019)

NEW ARTICLE: with Svante Prado: "The rise of the middle class: the income gap between salaried employees and workers in Sweden, ca. 1830–1940", pre-published online in the Scandinavian Economic History Review. Read here, open access (August 2019)

NEW ARTICLE "The Swedish Sonderweg in Question: Democratization and Inequality in Comparative Perspective, c.1750–1920", published in Past & Present vol. 244 no. 1 (August 2019). Read here (open access). -- in the media: interview in The Jacobin ; post on the P & P blog; nice article by Maren Toft in Morgenbladet; my essay in Göteborgs-Posten.; my essay in Respons; comment on leader page of Göteborgs-Posten. The paper was also referenced by Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven in his speech at Järvaveckan in Stockholm, June 2019.


Hello, welcome to my web site.

My name is Erik Bengtsson. I am an associate senior lecturer and docent in Economic History at Lund University. (work website here) I am also affiliated with the Economic History Unit at the University of Gothenburg.

As of 2020, I work mainly in three projects.

2017 to 2020 I work with professor Mats Olsson, postdoc Carolina Uppenberg and researcher Magnus Olofsson on a project on farmer politicians and farmer politics in the Swedish political economy c. 1770-1920. The project is financed by a grant from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. For the project aims see here.

From 2019 to 2022 I work in the project The Swedish transition to equality: income inequality with new micro data, 1862–1970, financed by grants from Handelsbankens forskningsstiftelser and the Swedish Research Council (grant info). I am the project leader and the two other senior participants are Jakob Molinder (Uppsala) and Svante Prado (Gothenburg). For the project aims see here.

2020 to 2025 I will also work within a large project led by Jenny Andersson and financed by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, "Neoliberalism in the Nordics". Within this project I will work on macroeconomic regulation, wage formation and economic inequality since roughly the 1970s, in the Nordic countries.

I also have various other research interests, especially in historical inequality and historical political economy.


first cover of upcoming book, Världens jämlikaste land?

Some other stuff upcoming in 2020:

    • In April and May I will be a visiting scholar at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris.
    • In August, Arkiv förlag will publish my book on economic, political and social inequality in Sweden since 1750 (and the determinants of inequality), Världens jämlikaste land? (The most equal country in the world?) . For a summary of the argument see my paper in Past & Present here.
    • Hösten 2020 kommer ett specialnummer av tidskriften Arbetarhistoria med temat "Det svenska klassamhället 1500-1900", med Carolina Uppenberg och jag som redaktörer. Förutom oss kommer numret också innehålla artiklar av Martin Andersson, Mats Hallenberg, Jonas Lindström och Theresa Johnsson.