Oljekrisen 1973 och Sveriges tvehövdade krispolitik


  • Evert Vedung
  • Dan Hansén


The 1973 Oil Crisis and Sweden’s Two-pronged Crisis Policy

How do governments cope with lurking crises that call for behavioral change among a wider citizenry? The global warming threat is a topical case in point. In this article, we explore the Swedish government response to the 1973 oil crisis, from which we draw lessons. In terms of policy instruments, Swedish policymakers deployed a twopronged, strategy. The government simultaneously initiated a package of quick/ soft as well as slow/hard instruments in the hope that the first package with information campaigns would be successful enough to make the second package with formal rationings redundant. The substantive goal was that the Swedes must save in homes, offices, and premises so that the large exporting industry should get the oil it needed to continue with full employment. The strategy worked. All pertinent actors, households as well as foreign oil concerns, heeded government persuasion efforts (sermons, a negotiated agreement) and took measures voluntarily. Why? One explanatory factor is the creative organization of the national crisis authorities. To a large extent, the strategy was implemented by organs stacked with a mixture of public agencies, private oil distributors and all kinds of organized non-governmental energy-use stakeholders to promote outreach, transversal co-creation, and collaborative governance. The government succeeded in its meaning-making efforts and created a strong narrative (sermon), which clearly pointed out the serious anticipated effects of the crisis in Sweden, according to which it became obvious that households and commerce needed to save energy in order to secure oil supply for industry to protect jobs and impede mass unemployment.