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.

Chloé Froissart

Hukou is a system for registering and controlling the population set up under Mao to promote the socialist development program. It has created a lasting division between urban and rural areas and has given rise to differences in status that violate the Chinese constitution, which stipulates that all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law. Maintaining the hukou system and cleverly adapting this communist institution in answer to the country’s social and economic changes largely explains how the CCP remains in power. Hukou helps manage development by controlling urban expansion and favoring rapid industrialization at a lesser cost to the state. Despite accelerated reforms to the system in recent years, it has perpetuated inequality among citizens. Hukou thus remains a tool of the party’s divide-and-rule strategy. The reforms, which promote greater social mobility and help ensure that elites remain behind the central power, also curb social unrest, although in a context in which hukou has never been so criticized. The system thus remains the bedrock of an authoritarian regime, serving its two priorities: maintaining social stability and high growth rate.

Alexandrine Brami Celentano, Jean-Marc Siroën

Since the 1970s, the world follows a triple evolution in favor of democratization, opening and decentralization. Brazil has been following this movement with a democratic and decentralizing constitution and by the adoption of market-friendly policies. However, since the Real Plan (1993), Brazil is recentralizing its fiscal policy. The huge increase of public expenses is predominantly at the profit of the Union, which imposes new fiscal constraints to the States and Municipalities. If the international integration is frequently associated to tax limitations and decentralization, Brazil would depart from this general trend. However Brazilian integration is recent and partial. Integration does not seem to increase inequalities what would justify a centralized transfer from the “winning” regions to the “losing” ones. The fiscal recentralization by higher public expenses might be therefore explained by the political will to reduce initial inequalities and to implement a better social protection. We show that fiscal recentralization is also the consequence of a distorted fiscal system notably in the nature of social security taxes and the type of VAT (ICMS) applied by States.

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?

Zuzanna Olszewska

Though Afghan emigration results from sociopolitical circumstances (drought, changes in the system of government, wars) and from the economic structure (pastoralism, seasonal cycles of productive activities), it is part of a historical continuum of recurrent population movements in the region. Many Afghans, particularly Hazaras, have settled in Iran since the end of the 19th century. Their presence in the country intensified during the 1970s following the Iranian oil boom and the Afghan drought, but also following the political upheavals in Afghanistan since 1978. The Islamic Republic has adopted a changing and rather inconsistent policy to deal with these immigrants, and in a both popular and formal climate of xenophobia the country’s current objective is to repatriate them. Yet, the presence of Afghans on Iranian soil seems irreversible as it satisfies economic needs, reflects the intensity of commercial exchanges between the two countries, and constitutes a complex cross-border social reality. Lastly, the Afghan presence stokes a public and legal debate on how to define citizenship, while it appears to be inherent to the Iranian conception of its own nation.

Anne Rulliat

The city of Shanghai, which has been hard hit by the various reorganizations of state enterprises since the early 1990s, is a forerunner in policies to battle unemployment, to the extent that its achievements are often referred to by the expression the Shanghai model(Shanghai moshi). The city has been experiencing a variety of forms of unemployment since the year 2000, affecting not only workers in state enterprises but all categories of the population, particularly young people. This study examines the Shanghai model, first describing the causes of unemployment in Shanghai, and then tracing the development of the measures taken in the past ten years or so. From the widespread structural unemployment in the years 1996-1997 to the more contextual unemployment in recent years, the city has devised a whole array of measures that are constantly evolving. Some are specifically adapted to the organization of Chinese society, but a number of others are similar to those adopted in OECD countries. In opposition to the liberal discourse on the mercantilization of labor, these measures demonstrate a strong state voluntarism in employment policies. The preservation of social stability serves as a yardstick to gauge the effectiveness of these public policies.

François d'Arcy

This study, which examines the chances of success of the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, takes as its starting point the idea that the main obstacle resides in the structure of the Brazilian political system. Being unable to reform that system, President Lula has skilfully adapted to it, but not without having to forge certain unusual alliances. He has, nevertheless, honoured the campaign promises which brought him to power after three unsuccessful attempts in a row, maintaining anti-inflationary policies and strict budgetary discipline, and respecting commitments given concerning public debt and privatised companies. This macroeconomic policy – which follows on from that of Fernando Henrique Cardoso – dominated his government’s first year in office, slowing the implementation of new policies addressing social issues and sustainable development. So far, the latter policies would appear to point more to continuity than to radical change, a fact which will, doubtless, contribute greatly to their success.

Florence Padovani

The study of the population movements caused by the major Chinese hydraulic projects reveals the true extent of the change which has come about in relations between the State and society in China. The construction of the Three Gorges dam – which led to considerable controversy both within China and beyond – is a prime case in point. As well as its social consequences, this infrastructure project has ramifications in the political, economic and legal domains, notably because of the forced migrations which it has entailed. The manner in which this question has been managed – both by central government, which planned the project, and by the provincial governments, which had to manage time constraints and financial and human resources at first hand – illustrates the extent to which the country has moved away from the authoritarian approach which had currency under the rule of Chairman Mao. The study of the project provides insights into the manner in which the authorities on the ground actually applied the directives received from the Centre, and into the difficulty encountered by the rulers in Beijing in ensuring that their centralised vision of the new China holds sway. The way in which the sensitive issue of forced migrations has been managed highlights what is at stake in the disputes between the various players, i.e. officials in the many ministries concerned, local and provincial authorities, displaced populations and host populations. The specific modes of justification employed by each group provide pointers towards an understanding of the complexity of China's new "civil society".