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Alternative Specifications of the Institutional Constraints to Economic Growth - Or Why is there a Shortage of Electronic Engineers and Computer Scientists in Sweden?

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There is a shortage of engineers and scientists, in particular, electronic engineers and computer scientists, in Sweden. This shortage is argued to be one factor behind the structural weakness of Swedish industry in the 'high tech' area. The conventional explanation of the imbalance in the supply and demand for electronic engineers and computer scientists is focused on the incentives for the individual to demand higher education. These are argued to be low due to the relatively equal income distribution in Sweden and to high taxation. We find that the evidence given in support of this specification of the institutional problem is not convincing. Instead, we specify the institutional problem as having been a lack of opportunities to study electronics and computer science. With recent institutional changes in higher education, this problem is currently being tackled. Looking ahead, we see a new institutional problem emerging with a distinct gender bias. In order to increase the number of degrees awarded in electronics and computer science further, we will need to raise the interest of women in science and technology studies. This requires major institutional changes with regard to both the form and content of the educational programmes.

Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: 2001-06-01

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