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11 J. Consumer Pol'y 1 (1988)

handle is hein.journals/jrncpy11 and id is 1 raw text is: Victor A. Pestoff
Exit, Voice, and Collective Action in
Swedish Consumer Policy
ABSTRACT. The development of consumer influence in Sweden is characterized
by successive phases of initiation (1940-1953), expansion (1954-1971), consoli-
dation (1972-1977), retrenchment (1978-1984), and decentralization (since
1985). For the study of consumer policy, the concepts of exit and voice, collective
action, countervailing power, and integrated participation are used.
It is shown that consumer policy neither belongs exclusively to the public
domain, nor is simply left to the whims of the market. Its success depends in part on
the participation of non-governmental organizations. However, the state's presence
is essential for the survival of organized consumer interests as a countervailing
The protection of consumers is an integral, though seldom a major,
part of economic and social policy in modern welfare states. The
term consumer protection refers to the prevention of physical or
economic disadvantage or damage to the buyers and/or users of
goods and services for personal or household use (Lane, 1983).
Consumer protection is a public good and, according to Lane, it is
not available in socially optimal quantities without governmental
intervention. Consumer protection has emerged as an issue area on
the public-policy agenda of many advanced industrial societies. A
comparison of Britain and the United States demonstrates, however,
that it only becomes a public-policy issue at the discretion of
politicians (Flickinger, 1983). Consumer movements in those two
countries are unable to provide consumer issues with permanent
status in public policy-making. Rose (1980, 1985) argues that con-
sumer issues occupy similar positions in Norway and Sweden.
Public efforts on behalf of consumers nevertheless reflect different
historical traditions, national approaches, and policy-making styles.
Studies of social policy also illustrate major variations among welfare
states. Some states provide much broader coverage and more diver-
sified social programs than others. Major differences in the provision
of social welfare have been characterized by the terms institutional
and residual (Korpi, 1980). Institutional welfare states provide
extensive and universal social services, while residual systems merely
extend such services to limited needy groups in society (Esping-

Journal of Consumer Policy 11 (1988) 1-27.
© 1988 by Kluwer Academic Publishers.

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