Swedish economic history was born between 1927 and 1932. The exact date of birth is not known. My claim is connected with two events that were crucial for the emergence of the Swedish welfare state: the instigation of the 1927 Unemployment Commission and the ascent of social democracy to political power in 1932. It was then that the founding figure of Swedish economic history, economist Eli F. Heckscher, finally gave up his claim to being a prominent economist and began to identify himself as an economic historian. The reader will have to accept this claim for the moment; I shall come back to it, and certainly qualify it, in a moment. The new-born child was weak, and did not receive much attention, but started to gain strength as the end of the 1930s drew near. The great depression had hit Sweden in 1931, but already in 1934 the economy had recovered, and the mean growth rate during the 1930s was over 3 per cent (Schön 2000: 348). The generational structure was particularly beneficial for the hasty turnaround of the economy. At the beginning of the 1930s, the age cohort 20–29 years rose steeply, as a result of high birth rates around 1910. Around 1935, the share of the Swedish population that belonged to this cohort was higher than at any other point in time during the twentieth century. A large segment of the population were young adults, ready to work, consume and build new families – providing of course that there were work opportunities. Unemployment insurance was the prime policy target of the social democratic government (Schön 2000: 353). In 1938, the well-known Saltsjöbaden agreement was signed by the parties of the labour market, putting an end to labour market conflicts and setting up institutional preconditions instrumental in securing political and industrial stability (Magnusson 2010: 447–9). These economic and political conditions form the backdrop for the emergence and distinctive evolution of economic history in Sweden, as we shall see. The take-off of the new discipline took place in 1948, in the aftermath of the Second World War, when for the first time four stable positions (however not chairs) in economic history were set up, through a decision in Parliament. This was a period when a new research policy aimed to provide room for expansion for an emerging social science that was beginning to see the light of day. Economic history became a social science, as was economics, but unlike the discipline of history, which remained within arts faculties. The child was now beginning to walk on its own two feet.