Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Exit, voice, and collective action in Swedish consumer policy

Abwanderung, Widerspruch und kollektives Handeln in der schwedischen Verbraucherpolitik

  • 62 Accesses

  • 5 Citations


The development of consumer influence in Sweden is characterized by successive phases of initiation (1940–1953), expansion (1954–1971), consolidation (1972–1977), retrenchment (1978–1984), and decentralization (since 1985). For the study of consumer policy, the concepts of exit and voice, collective action, countervailing power, and integrated participation are used.

It is shown that consumer policy neither belongs exclusively to the public domain, nor is simply left to the whims of the market. Its success depends in part on the participation of non-governmental organizations. However, the state's presence is essential for the survival of “organized consumer interests” as a countervailing power.


Der Beitrag kennzeichnet die Entwicklung des Verbrauchereinflusses in Schweden durch mehrere Phasen. Danach liegt die Anfangsphase in den Jahren 1940 bis 1953; in die anschließenden Jahre bis 1971 fällt die Phase der Expansion; die Phase der Konsolidierung fällt in die Jahre 1972 bis 1977, die des Abbaues in die anschließenden Jahre bis 1984, und die Zeit seit 1985 wird als Dezentralisationsphase bezeichnet.

Bei der Analyse der schwedischen Verbraucherpolitik werden die theoretischen Konzepte (a) von Abwanderung und Widerspruch, (b) des kollektiven Handelns, (c) der Gegenmachtbildung und (d) der integrierten Mitwirkung verwendet.

Es wird gezeigt, daß die Verbraucherpolitik weder ausschließlich dem öffentlichen Bereich zugehört, noch den Launen des Marktes unterliegen kann. Ihr Erfolg setzt zumindest teilweise die Mitwirkung von nichtstaatlichen Organisationen voraus. Allerdings ist staatliche Unterstützung notwendig für das Überleben des “organisierten Verbraucherinteresses” als Gegenmacht.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.



Allmänna reklamationsnämnden — the Public Merchandise Complaints Board


Hemmens forskningsinstitut — the Institute of Home Research


Hyresgästernas Sparkasse- och Byggnadsföreningars Riksförbund — the National Association of Tenants' Savings and Building Societies


Inköpscentralernas Aktiebolag


Konsumentinstitutet — the Institute for Consumer Information


Kooperativa Förbundet — the Cooperative Union and Wholesale Society


Konsumentverket — the National Board for Consumer Policies


Konsumentpolitiska kommittén — the Committee on Consumer Policy


Konsumentrådet — the National Council for Consumer Goods Research and Consumer Information


Landsorganisationen i Sverige — the Swedish Trade Union Confederation


Lantbrukarnas riksförbund — the Federation of Swedish Farmers


Marknadsdomstolen — the Market Court


Million Swedish crowns


Näringsfrihetsombudsmannen — the Competition Ombudsman


Näringsfrihetsrådet — the Competition Council


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development


Oljekonsumenternas Förbund — the Swedish Oil Consumers' Union


Pensionärernas Riksorganisation — the Swedish Pensioners' National Organization


Centralorganisationen — the Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations, SACO/SR


Svenska arbetsgivareföreningen — the Swedish Employers' Confederation


Swedish crowns


Sveriges Hantverks- och Industriorganisation — the Swedish Federation of Crafts and Small and Medium-Sized Industries


Sveriges Industriförbund — the Federation of Swedish Industries


Statens jordbruksnämnd — the National Agricultural Marketing Board


Statens livsmedelsverk — the National Food Administration


Statens pris- och kartellnämnd — the National Price and Cartel Office


Tjänstemännens Centralorganisation — the Central Organization of Salaried Employees


Varudeklarationsnämnden — the Institute for Informative Labelling


  1. Back, P.-E. (1967). Sammanslutningarnas roll i politiken 1870–1910 (The role of organizations in politics, 1870–1910). Lund: Student litteratur.

  2. Bendix, R. (1964). Nation building and citizenship. New York: Random House.

  3. Bosworth, B., & Rivlin, A. (Eds.) (1986). The Swedish economy. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institute.

  4. Committee on Consumer Policy (1986). Hushållning för välfärd. Den framtida konsumentpolitikens inriktning (The direction of Sweden's future consumer policy). Stockholm: Swedish Government Reports (SOU 1985: 32).

  5. Crouch, C. (1986). Sharing public spaces: States and organized interests in Western Europe. In: J. A. Hall (Ed.), States in history, pp. 117–210. Oxford: Blackwell.

  6. Esping-Andersen, G., & Korpi, W. (1984), Social policy as class politics in post-war capitalism: Scandinavia, Austria and Germany. In: J. H. Goldthorpe (Ed.), Order and conflict in contemporary capitalism, pp. 179–208. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  7. Farago, P. (1987). Retail pressure and the collective reactions of the food processing industry. In: W. Grant (Ed.), Business interests, organizational development, and private interest government, pp. 146–179. New York: de Gruyter.

  8. Flickinger, R. (1983). The comparative politics of agenda setting: The emergence of consumer protection as a public issue in Britain and the USA. Policy Studies Review, 2, 429–444.

  9. Fuchs, P. (1984). Vem producerar vår mat? (Who produces our food?) Stockholm: Prisma.

  10. Galbraith, J. K. (1952). American capitalism. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

  11. Heckscher, G. (1946). Staten och organisationerna (The state and the organizations). Stockholm: Kooperativa förbundets bokförlag.

  12. Hirschman, A. O. (1970). Exit, voice, and loyalty. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  13. Hirschman, A. O. (1980). Essays in trespassing. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  14. Korpi, W. (1980). Social policy and distributional conflict in the capitalist democracies. Western European Politics, 3, 296–316.

  15. Lane, S. (1983). The rationale for government intervention in seller-consumer relationships. Policy Studies Review, 2, 419–428.

  16. Linder, S. B. (1981). Interview. Dagens Nyheter, March 12.

  17. Nadel, M. (1971). Economic power and public policy: The case of consumer protection. Politics & Society, 1, 313–326.

  18. Olson, M. (1965). The logic of collective action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  19. Oxelheim, L. (1984). The largest nordic manufacturing companies. In: Economic growth in a nordic perspective, pp. 184–201. Stockholm: Industriens Utredningsinstitut.

  20. Pestoff, V. A. (1977). Voluntary associations and nordic party systems. Stockholm: University of Stockholm, Department of Political Science.

  21. Pestoff, V. A. (1982–3). Dilemmas facing producer cooperatives in Sweden. Stockholm: University of Stockholm, Department of Political Science, AASBI RR No. 7.

  22. Pestoff, V. A. (1984a). The Swedish organizational community and its participation in public policy-making. Stockholm: University of Stockholm, Department of Political Science. AASBI RR No. 6.

  23. Pestoff, V. A. (1984b). Konsumentinflytande och konsumentorganisering — den svenska modellen (Consumer influence and the organization of consumers — The Swedish model). Stockholm: Ministry of Finance. DsFi 1984: 15.

  24. Pestoff, V. A. (1986). The politics of organized business interests in Sweden. Stockholm: University of Stockholm, Department of Business Administration.

  25. Pestoff, V. A. (1987). Har folkrörelserna rå att hänga med? (Can the voluntary organizations afford to keep up?) Arbetet, April 29.

  26. Pestoff, V. A. (forthcoming). Joint regulation, meso-games, and political exchange in Swedish industrial relations. In: B. Marin & A. Pizzorno (Eds.), Generalized political exchange. New York: de Gruyter.

  27. Rose, L. (1980). Consumer protection and policy-making in Norway and the United States. Western European Politics, 3, 421–430.

  28. Rose, L. (1985). Consumer protection in Scandinavia. In: A. J. Groth & L. L. Wade (Eds.), Public policy across nations, pp. 151–180. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

  29. Schmitter, P. (1984). Democratic theory and neo-corporatist practice. Florence: European University Institute. W.P. No. 74.

  30. Schmitter, P., & Streeck, W. (forthcoming). Organizing business interests. New York: Sage.

  31. Svensk ekonomi får beröm (The Swedish economy gets praise) (1988). Dagens Nyheter, January 20.

  32. Wilensky, H., & Turner, L. (1987). Democratic corporatism and policy linkages. Berkeley, CA: Institute of International Studies.

Download references

Additional information

Victor A. Pestoff is a Research Associate in the Department of Business Administration, University of Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the International Conference on the Nonprofit Sector and the Welfare State — Development of a Research Agenda, Bad Honnef FRG, June 10–12, 1987, and at the 14th Nordic Sociology Congress, Tampere, FinIand, August 21–23, 1987.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Pestoff, V.A. Exit, voice, and collective action in Swedish consumer policy. J Consum Policy 11, 1–27 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00411518

Download citation


  • Economic Policy
  • Collective Action
  • Public Domain
  • Successive Phasis
  • Consumer Policy