Looking at the reports in the Swedish media on the OECD report into Sweden’s economy, you would almost think that it made no criticisms. Indeed, the report is positive in many aspects, and praise is heaped upon Sweden’s government for its efforts to cut taxes and keep discipline in the public finances.
But the report also lists areas in which Sweden should do better. In fact, it names two ‘key challenges’ – the exclusion of immigrants from the labour market and housing reform – particularly the reform of the restrictive housing rental market.
While the labour market issue is mentioned in Swedish reports, as in this DN article, the criticisms of the housing rental market are barely reported. Given that the report makes a good case for there being a problem (pointing out, for instance, that there are 10 year housing queues in Stockholm), one has to wonder why the Swedish media is so reluctant to take up this important issue.
Are the middle-class journalists and politicians, who the report makes clear are among the main beneficiaries of rent controls, afraid to bring up the issue for fear it might actually lead to reform?