I’m in Stockholm this week, visiting the Research Institute of Industrial EconomicsÂ (IFN), as the guest of Daniel Waldenstrom.Â The main purpose of the visit is a workshop on inequality – something Swedes don’t have much of, but seem very keen to talk about. At the same time, I hope to find out how Daniel manages to get a CV like thisÂ while working 14 hours a week (he’s been on paternity leave since Aug 2006).
This is my first visit to Sweden, and my first trip to Scandinavia travelling with a child. Sweden’s child-friendliness is much-touted, but seeing it up close really makes a strong impression. Many of the parks have sandpits, complete with plastic shovels and buckets (not attached by strings, yet unstolen – puzzling…). On weekends, adults can take up to 6 children (aged <18) on the metro while paying for only one ticket. And every cafe seems to have half a dozen high-chairs available (Ikea, natch). Sweden’s taxes and prices are famously high, but strolling Stockholm, you’re not left in any doubt where the money goes.