Eloi Laurent

The "Swedish method" refers to the Swedes' collective capacity to adapt to the successive economic and social challenges they face in today's world. The present study attempts to raise and shed light on two issues: the inner workings of the "Swedish method"; its sustainability in the current phase of globalization. More specifically, we try to determine whether confidence and social cohesion, at the heart of Sweden's success, may be affected by the changes in public policy induced by a strategy of openness and adaptation that Sweden has considerably encouraged in recent years. We begin by surveying the literature on the relationship between confidence, social cohesion and economic performance to measure the respective importance of the factors of social cohesion. We then show how these components have been crystallized into institutions according to three socioeconomic rationales, the social democratic rationale at the heart of the Swedish system differing from the rationale of social segmentation. The study then takes a fresh look at Sweden's economic and social performance today and describes in detail the contemporary Swedish growth strategy, typical of a "small" country. We then describe the evolution of macroeconomic, fiscal, immigration and education policies and point out a weakening of collective protection schemes and the alteration of certain crucial public policies, an evolution that in the long run could call into question the Swedish governance strategy by eroding social cohesion.

Antoine Vion, François-Xavier Dudouet, Eric Grémont

The study proposes analyzing the complex links between the standardization and regulation of mobile phone markets from a political economy perspective. Moreover, this study examines these links by taking into consideration, from a Schumpeterian perspective, the market disequilibrium and the monopolistic phenomena associated with innovation. It aims firstly to underline, with respect to different network generations (0G to 4G), the particularity of this industry in terms of investment return, and the key role that network standardization plays in the structuring of the market. This key variable of the standard explains in large part the income that GSM represented in the industrial and financial dynamics of the sector. The study thus explores the relations between the normalization policies, which are certainly neither the sole issue of public actors nor are they simple industrial property regulations, and the regulation policies of the sector (allocation of licenses, trade regulations, etc.). It underlines that the last twenty-five years have made the configurations of expertise more and more complex, and have increased the interdependency between network entrepreneurs, normalizers, and regulators. From a perspective close to Fligstein’s, which emphasizes the different institutional dimensions of market structuring (trade policies, industrial property regulations, wage relations, financial institutions), this study focuses on the interdependent relations between diverse, heavily institutionalized spheres of activity.

Social cohesion stands out as a major element of the “Norwegian model”. Norway can even be seen as a sort of laboratory where one can measure both the positive and the negative effects of such a priority and examine its components. The Norwegian social-democratic model – i.e. economical and social policies aiming at reinforcing social cohesion – is largely a product of the remarkable ethnic and cultural homogeneity that has historically characterized Norway. Though this political strategy has generated considerable achievements, it would appear to be in jeopardy today. This study will examine three main questions: considering international movements of people, is it possible to maintain ethnic and cultural homogeneity in a country with an open market? As Norway faces growing international competition, is there not a risk that the adverse effects of social homogeneity will supersede its advantages? Lastly, will oil revenues be enough to finance the continuation of this Norwegian model despite perturbations associated with globalization?

Frédéric Massé

The conflict in Colombia has, in the space of a few years, become a real headache for the United States as well as for Europe. Countless human rights violations, forced population displacement, drug trafficking and terrorism make Colombia a textbook case for examining the entire range of security problems today. With the launching of Plan Colombia in 1999, the United States considerably increased its aid to the country. Today, the American administration actively supports Alvaro Uribe’s government in its fight against guerilla movements, labeled “narcoterrorists,” and rumors of armed intervention regularly resurface. Having long remained on the sidelines of the “Colombian tragedy,” Europe seems to be relegated to playing second fiddle. The military option represented by Plan Colombia had opened up a political spaced that the Europeans began to occupy. But with the break-off of peace negotiations, this space has shrunk and has maybe even disappeared for good. In the face of American efforts to monopolize management of the Colombian conflict, it is in fact hard to see how the European Union can return to the forefront in this area of the world that remains the United States’ preserve. All the more so since virtually no voices can be heard asking the Europeans to counterbalance the United States. The situation in Colombia is a new illustration of the state of U.S.-European relations today, between competition, a search for complementarity and a mutual lack of understanding.