Trade, Money & Finance in the Shadow of the War: Neutral Sweden during World War

The year 2014 marks the centenary of one of the most decisive events in world history: the outbreak of World War I. The purpose of the project Trade, Money & Finance in the Shadow of the War: Neutral Sweden during WWI is to understand the impact of WWI on the Swedish economic development in a longer perspective. The literature on the impact of WWI on the economy seem to fall into two diametrically diverging strands: One which claims that WWI seriously disrupted the world economy and caused structural imbalances, similar to that of the infamous Dutch disease, whereas the alternative view is that the impact of the war differed in between countries, and in some cases the changing conditions of the war may even have led to long-­term economic growth. The basic question of this project is if the war triggered growth or economic and political disintegration? In our study we place focus on the development of the trade to the financial and monetary conditions, as well as to the contemporary doctrines and economic thought in general. In order to analyze whether the experiences of the Scandinavian countries differed respectively, and with respect to other neutral countriesas well as those countries, which were most profoundly touched by the war: the UK, France and Germany, we also employ a comparative approach.

Selection of publications:

Hedberg P & Karlsson L (2015), ”Neutral trade in time of war: the case of Sweden, 1838-1960”, International Journal of Maritime History, Vol. 27, nr 1, 1-18

Hedberg P (2014), ”The Military Revolution Revisited By Way of Private Enterprise” in: The Economics of War (Routledge; Taylor & Francis Online:

Hedberg, P (2014), ”Did British and German Trade Regionalization Trigger Commodity Market Disintegration during the Interwar Years?: Empirical Evidence from the Scandinavian Countries”, Journal of European Economic History, Vol. 1, nr 1-2

Contact persons:

Peter Hedberg, Department of Economic History, Box 513, 751 20 Uppsala, Phone +46 18 471 7313. Email:


Seminars will take place in Ekonomikum, room K425, 1315-1500

29 August

Margrit Müller, Universität Zürich. "The impact of multinationalization on the firms, their home economy and the host countries. The case of Switzerland during the 20th century"

12 September

Amanda Scardamaglia, Swinburne Law School, Melbourne. Presentation of research project on  "Colonial trademarks".