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The Labour Institute for Economic Research is an independent and non-profit research organisation founded in 1971. The Institute carries out economic research, monitors economic development and publishes macroeconomic forecasts. The aim is to contribute to the economic debate and to provide information for economic policy decision making in Finland.
The main emphasis is on empirical research based on theoretical approaches. The main fields of research are:
Labour market issues
- Labour supply and demand, labour mobility, wage formation and wage differentials, unemployment and efficiency of the labour market
- Research Coordinator Merja Kauhanen, tel. 358-9-2535 7335
- Welfare, inequality and economic exclusion, effects of taxation and public spending on the household sector, evaluation of public institutions and organization of market structure in the production of public services
- Research Coordinator Ilpo Suoniemi, tel. 358-9-2535 7342
Macroeconomic issues and economic policy
- Business cycles, monetary and fiscal policies, monetary integration, macroeconomics of employment and unemployment
- Research Coordinator, Chief of forecasting Eero Lehto, tel. 358-9-2535 7350
Economic monitoring and forecasting
The Institute carries out continuous monitoring and analysis of business cycles and economic trends, the main focus being on the Finnish economy. A detailed short-term economic forecast with a horizon of 1½–2 years is published each March and September (including the Web-versions in English and Swedish).
The medium-term evaluations and forecasts of the economic trends and structural changes are published about once every three years. The main emphasis is on the economic situation of wage earners and salaried employees.
The institute has two research publication series. Final reports on research projects are published in the Studies/Tutkimuksia. More concise reports about ongoing research projects are published in the Working Papers/Työpapereita, which are available on the Web.
The Institute also publishes a quarterly Review Talous & Yhteiskunta/Economy & Society in Finnish. It includes articles written by the Institute’s own researchers as well as by experts from other organisations. The review aims to promote interest and information in the results of economic research in society.
The permanent staff of the Institute consists of 16 persons, of which 11 are economists (this number includes the director, research director and three research coordinators). Most of the research staff have a doctoral degree in economics. Publishing in academic journals and presenting research results at scientific conferences is part of the cooperation with the international research community. Commenting on economic trends and participation in the economic policy debate in the media are also an important part of the work.
The main part of the Institute’s funding comes from an Association whose members are the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), the Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees (STTK), the Confederation of Unions for Academic Professionals in Finland (AKAVA) and their member unions. The balance of the budget is derived from government subsidies and research contracts, which are drawn up principally with ministries, public and private funds and the Academy of Finland.
History of the Institute
The history of the Labour Institute for Economic Research dates back to the year 1951, when the People’s Market Research Institute was established by the Union of Consumer Co-operatives. It was the first research institute of the Finnish labour movement. The task of the Institute was to study consumption and living costs, agricultural subsidies and prices, cyclical fluctuations of the economy and economic competition.
The disintegration of the Finnish labour movement and the break-up of trade unions during the 1950s and the 1960s meant a quiet time for the Institute. The reintegration of the trade unions took place at the end of the 1960s. It led to a new emphasis on the functions of the institute, which was reorganised by the Union of Consumer Co-operatives (KK) and the newly founded Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK).
The new research institute set up in 1971 was called the Labour Institute for Economic Research. It was separated from the Union of Consumer Co-operatives in 1974. Since then, the Labour Institute for Economic Research has been an independent body supported by the Association of member organisations. The research interests of the Institute shifted from market research to macroeconomic issues.
The next important change took place in 1993, when funding was expanded by new members joining the Association. It now includes all Finnish central trade union confederations.
Today, the Labour Institute for Economic Research is an established and renowned research institute. Its research results, economic forecasts and economic policy comments are widely referred to in the media.